Reclamation

by Carl Strang

On Friday a few of us paid a visit to the Oak Meadows Forest Preserve’s country club building.

Looks good from this side, doesn’t it? The building is about to be demolished. Here is why.

This was a sad sight, the ballroom where the Forest Preserve District staff used to have an annual holiday party. A few weeks after the last of those events, in February 2009, lightning struck and much of the building burned. We were there looking for furniture we could use, but I also was interested in the speed with which life had begun to invade.

Moss was spreading over much of the former ballroom floor.

Furthermore, reproduction had occurred: this fireweed plant (appropriately named, given the scene) was releasing seeds. Except for such propagules, these organisms will be wiped away as demolition proceeds, but is it disturbing or reassuring that life always is in the wings looking to reclaim the land occupied by our works?

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