I grew up in a country behind the Iron Curtain that was full of the physical advances of scientific Marxism-Leninism. Whenever I think about this time I remember the color grey. Everything was drab and grey. Of course the new pre-fab city districts with their uniform apartment blocks had grass and trees in between them. But my old part of town still had weapon marks from World War II. Only a few houses had a new coat of paint and even this coat was grey and dirty due to air pollution. There was little advertisement and the stores had only a few decorations (or goods for that matter).
But we had a park nearby where I played all the time. My parents just let me play outside alone for hours at a time when I was like 6 years old. Imagine I let my daughter run around at this age today. I probably get a visit from children’s services. Later as a grown-up and now living in the same part of town that was rapidly becoming very desirable and colorful I still liked to visit the park. Something about nature, about the absence of roads, cars and buildings that calmed me down.
But then the park became not an oasis of nature and calm but a playground for all the exciting and hip people who loved to visit or outright move to my hometown. The park became colorful with people, picnic blankets, neon sports wear and loud with talk and music. It was time to leave. Besides this former grey and undesirable part of town was now one of the most expensive places. And I was not going to pay so much rent for such a loud and crowded spot.
So we moved to another smaller city. This city has also a park nearby. And what a park. It is huge and has little pieces of woodland, lawns, small hills, some historic buildings. There are no cars, no roads and no modern buildings for kilometers. No one makes a picnic or listens to music and there are no sports facilities. People come here to walk, sit on a bench and enjoy nature. And I realized how much I love and need nature. Seeing green soothes my overactive mind. I remember telling my wife how different the colors are here. How many shades of green I can see.
Finally: From grey to green
In a big city you can only ever see a few trees or shrubs at a time. But here I can see a wall of trees in the distance. A wall of green. And every green is slightly different. I always try to capture it with my camera but alas the digital eye can’t compare to what I see. I love having green around me. I made from grey to green.
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