Greening Our Cities
A growing movement to reconcile natural and human communities may reflect a biblical vision for God’s creation.
by Rebecca Barnes
When I was a little girl, the tree in my backyard was the stage for my imagination. I spent hours by that tree, in a parcel of green, in the middle of a medium-sized city. I often didn’t wear shoes—perhaps fitting too nicely the stereotype of a young Kentuckian. I liked the feel of grass under my feet and the gnarled wood against my soles as I stood on my personal platform (a prominent root that surfaced a few feet from the tree). My dad had blackberries, corn, and tomatoes growing against the back fence. All of this somehow created a world where I could block out the noisy traffic of a major street—a stone’s throw from my back fence—and the constant rumble and whistle of trains.
I’ve stayed in the city but connected to the earth, finding places to encounter God, by finding trees and green wherever I can. These safe, peaceful places have given me blessed, private moments to collect my thoughts, utter prayers, and come back to my “center.”