Shopping Center Acres

by Carl Strang

As the Mayslake Forest Preserve’s friary was demolished, the adjacent savanna could be imagined anticipating an expansion opportunity.

The project has reached the point where the final concrete is being removed.

Soil is being spread as the rubble is hauled away.

Thinking about the removal of a human structure and the return of its space to a wild state, I was reminded of a one-man performance I used to offer. Called A Day in the Forest, it consisted of my making quick costume changes and becoming different forest animals and plants, each telling a little story and singing a song. Though the costumes were simple, some time was needed to change and so I wrote little interludes between character appearances. One was a broadcast from an imaginary forest animals’ radio station, including the following commercial break:

“Shopping Center Acres is a new forest development your family is sure to love. That’s right! Your friends at Wildwood Developers are tearing down yet another useless shopping mall and planting a brand NEW forest. The new forest should be ready for wild animals to occupy in another 50 years, so make your reservations now. These choice burrows, tree cavities and nesting branches are sure to go fast! That’s Shopping Center Acres, the newest creation by Wildwood Developers, providing homes for the future.”

This view from the north edge of Mayslake’s north savanna is what I envision happening in a few years at the south edge of the south savanna as the trees spread onto the former friary site.

And now I am taking a holiday break. See you in the New Year!


  1. Hal Atherton said,

    December 23, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Merry Christmas Carl.

  2. jomegat said,

    December 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I like that spin on development. 🙂

  3. May 27, 2011 at 6:02 am

    […] happy to see the return of activity in the friary demolition site at Mayslake Forest Preserve. As I reported last fall, the old friary was taken down and the way cleared for the return of its site to a wild state.  […]

  4. November 11, 2011 at 7:09 am

    […] condition will not be met, however. As I have mentioned in the past, the woodland at the north edge of the site is ready to send acorns and other propagules south, and […]

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