Monday, April 9, 2012
Arboretum: "tree-garden," 1838, from L. arboretum, lit. "a place grown with trees" ~ http://www.etymonline.com/
How does a place become an arboretum as opposed to a forest?
The difference must lie in the spaces between the trees. The garden, the lawn, the paths where one can stand and contemplate the contrast between tree and not-tree. In the forest, such distinctions blur into canopies and shadows. All is tree.
I like forests. I like trees in their unlabelled, unclassified state. Arboretums are tree-zoos: spaces to preserve and exhibit a waning kingdom.
In a perfect world, suburbs would not exist and cities would be ringed with forests.
In an imperfect world, we have cities with arboretums and I live in the suburbs.
If I could choose, I'd rather live in the arboretum. The suburbs come in shades of beige and they don't smell like spring.