After I finished work today, I drove home the usual way, changing lanes and merging onto the freeway. Listening to the radio, I was aware of my surroundings and the cars around me but like many other drivers, I was driving in a kind of auto-pilot.
It wasn’t until I had exited the freeway and needed to stop for a time at a set of traffic lights that I snapped out of my habitual process. Whilst at a standstill, I picked up my iPhone and took this photo.
I pass this place every day and yet I have no idea what is in there. Occasionally, at nighttime, you can see bats hanging in the trees, but that’s usually the most that I ever take notice of it.
As the lights turned green and I drove off, I started to think about the other places around my hometown to which I pay little attention. There are numerous spots that are always just out of reach of the roads and paths that I frequent, strange areas that I’ve been unable to or never had a reason to enter.
Sure, if you look up such places on Apple or Google Maps, you may see how areas in your city connect or lead into each other, however these are just images. They are still dead zones—places that you’ve never actually experienced. Natasha and I discussed another green space in a neighbouring suburb the other day and had to look it up online to see what was inside it.
We humans take our built environment for granted. Roads, railways and flight paths enable us to zip around the place and we rarely stop to consider the spaces through which we travel. Everything is made so easy for us, yet all that we do is complain and take things for granted. Besides the semi-wilderness that lies beyond the suburban sprawl, there are also fascinating green spaces, laneways and paths that we all ignore within our cities each day.
How well do you know your home? Is there anything that you take for granted? I’ll certainly be paying closer attention from now on.