Empty Spaces – tentree

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Empty Spaces

Take a drive and what will you find? Well that all depends on where you go. Whatever direction you head, you will find occupied spaces, and empty spaces. There are spaces that we will want to see filled, and spaces we would like to remain empty. We are all very different in what we crave as a human. Some are more urban dwellers than others, but we all still require the necessities. So how do we determine which spaces we want to fill?

As we cruise the blocks of the city or town we live in, we may see vacant properties. Commercial properties for lease are the most obvious types of empty spaces within an urban setting. These are well advertised and clearly lonely. Every time I see a vacant space in Saskatoon, I wonder what would be the perfect fit for that space. Every community is unique, and so spaces need to be filled with the right tenant to help blend the community. There is also a sense that these spaces must be filled, or the community is unsuccessful.

To me, it is an interesting feeling for people to have. They essentially have no control over the space, but need for it to be filled in order to feel fulfilled. Communities go through changes; ups and downs. There are economic windfalls and droughts. With these changes, the faces of the community will change too. The end result is a turnover in spaces, spaces that we wish to fill.

10 - October 3 The opposite goes for natural spaces. When we observe a natural space in its purest form, we long for it to stay that way forever. Even as a modern, urbanized society, we cannot ignore the natural beauty before us. We come across these spaces and do not wish to fill them. In fact, we push back against anyone who wishes to do so. The beauty of nature even causes us to fill urban spaces with replicas of Mother Nature in the hopes of achieving some urban forestation. Even in our lowest of moments, we still recognize that we cannot fill all of these spaces, or we will truly be lost.

The natural spaces that we hope to leave empty, however, may already be filled. When we see a quiet forest or walk through a waving field of grass, we feel that sense of calmness and emptiness. To us, this is a place that does not need any extras or fixing; it is just a place of vacant beauty. These places are not vacant though, and they are not empty. There are living things that depend on these “empty” spaces for survival. Just as we long for a convenient place to gather our groceries, they long for a convenient place to gather their food. These are natural habitats, not just natural sights. That is why it is so important that we keep them empty.

These spaces can remain empty to us, and remain full to them. Each living plant, insect, bird, fish, mammal, reptile; they all need our empty spaces. Those who seek to destroy these spaces leave them empty to us, and to the living things that rely on them. This is where tentree comes in. The full and plentiful spaces that become empty, need replenishing. Trees that are planted fill the space and create a home for some, and a refuge for others.

I believe it is in our nature to see a vacant space and wish to fill it. We rarely seek decentralization when it comes to our amenities. They key is finding that balance, where we understand how much to take, and how much to leave. Some vacancies we can fill, and some we must leave empty, as we see them.

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