Without Concrete

Sometimes I wonder what the world would look like if we lifted up the concrete. I mean, what if we ripped out all the roads, and the parking lots, and the driveways leading up to people’s houses? I keep imagining it, crumbling away like that, but I have a hard time imagining what would be underneath.

Say it’s gone; all the asphalt freshly cracked and peeled away by the hands of some great machine. What would be there? In those first few moments, it would likely be a mass of toiled, compacted mud, burnt gray by the lack of sunlight, but I kind of like the idea of there being grass. Not a whole field of it, or anything, but this weak, pale spritz somewhat like the hair on a baby’s head, or like seaweed as it’s exposed at low tide. I imagine it to be the shade and consistency of moonlight, both sickly and gentle. Maybe a few burr reeds in there; the kind that get stuck to your socks.

Over time it would coalesce into something sturdier. Freeways would become, yes, fields, and then riverine thickets. Ashes and maple trees would journey above the brambles until it became the kind of canopy where, at sunset, the light pushes up on the leaves and rims them in some blend of gold and darkness. In this world I think you could walk anywhere; I think you could leave my house and keep going until you made it to the river, or even the mountain, or, hey, maybe the ocean, and it would all just be land–country–and we would belong to it again.


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