Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Reaching New Heights

Several weeks ago, news media outlets paid homage to, or downright celebrated, the eclipsing of the Empire State Building as New York City's tallest skyscraper (a status it regained after that horrific day in September 2001) as the new World Trade Center Tower No. One (once dubbed the tacky, pretentious, and rather nativistic "Freedom Tower") rose to 1,271 feet above Manhattan streets.

The architectural world has long been preoccupied with heights and bigness--which in my base view is but a shameless intellectual version of men's locker room antics and furtive glances.

Bigger is better, right?  One would think so if one glanced at the seemingly never-ending quest to build higher and higher, not to mention more angular (really Libeskind? Another angular, jagged design? Oh my, how very original), or more arcing (oh, Calatrava, I thought I just saw that design...perhaps because I have?), or more twisted. Sigh. (Yes: I really can be an opinionated bitch. There, I said it.)

Burj Khalifa (2010 at 2,716 feet), Taipei 101 (2004 at 1,667 feet), the Petronas Towers (1998 at 1,483 feet), and the Sears Tower (1974 at 1,451 feet) have become (almost) household names, monuments to architectural and engineering prowess, if not hubris.

Recently, I've reached new heights. No, no, I haven't been climbing the tree, though I did perch an extension ladder a few weeks back against the maple to remove many of the lower branches and hence raise the canopy to allow more light (and rain) to access the beds below. Being scared of heights, I couldn't get beyond a few meager feet above the ground. Sigh.

No. My story of height and eclipse has really nothing to do with me.

Today, among the perennials in the front sun garden, Rose Mallow surpassed the Northern Sea Oats Grass in terms of height.

One just wonders: how will Rose outdo herself this year?

It's a question worth asking.

After all, she has to keep up with some famous architects.

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