A dying plant in Highland Park, on concrete-laden Figueroa Blvd.

The beauty of hope

A dying plant in Highland Park, on concrete-laden Figueroa Blvd.
A dying plant in Highland Park, on concrete-laden Figueroa Blvd.

Highland Park, whose busy Figueroa Blvd is pictured in the photo above, is an interesting relic of Los Angeles’ past.

As with many similar neighborhoods in cities all around the country, it appears to be experiencing an urban Renaissance after decades of neglect and decay.

It has a dignity to it, acquired through a century of existence and its once proud position as an important Western cultural center. But today, in many ways it remains gritty, concrete-laden, its dignity present only through a layer of dust.

And so this moment on Figueroa Boulevard captured my interest, when I walked by a dying potted plant bravely hanging on to the sunshine – trying its best to preserve itself in an environment of pavement and cars.

Someone, likely from the store whose entrance was just next to the plant, had chosen to place this plant on this characterless slab of  street and sidewalk.

It seemed to me an aspirational statement. A hopeful one that said: we don’t have to accept things as they are, this little potted plant can make it different, better.

Perhaps it was too big of a burden on this plant, which seemed to be withering despite its best efforts. Yet, watching a small plant cling to life – as if it is fighting for life – is hopeful all its own.

Hope came in the form of this little plant. It was an act of beautifying through nature. How fascinating that making something more beautiful – by connecting it to nature – is a form of hope?

I walked away from plant, myself hoping that the plant will survive, and continue to beautify its little part of Highland Park’s concrete world.


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