Kirby Road drapes itself across the hills and valleys of McLean, Virginia, a Washington DC suburb in northern Fairfax County and among the most affluent communities in the country. In the summer, both the trees and the topography shroud the majority of the palatial homes that line either side of this former country lane. In
The fate of interstate highway rest areas in the 21st century has been checkered, to say the least. As privately owned service stations become larger and posher, state-operated rest areas have found it increasingly difficult to justify their existence. In the eastern US, familiar names like Wawa, Sheetz, Pilot, and Love’s have expanded their convenience
Urban autumn: when a single favored tree like the gingko provides all the leaf-peeping a city needs.
The introduction of landscaping into densely populated urban settings has always been a thorny issue, pun fully intended. Steeped in emissions and incarcerated by impervious surfaces, plant life across urban environments typically only thrives against the odds. Certain flora that can flourish in a suburban front yard are scarce in downtown settings, for obvious reasons:
Verdant and breathtaking as much of Alaska might be, the Last Frontier is no great shakes when it comes to biodiversity. Such is the nature of boreal forests in general: they typically host few varieties of tree species, although the ones that thrive are as abundant as one might expect in a mostly uninhabited, vast
It’s rare that a major effort in environmental engineering, no matter how noble the intent or how solicitous the conception, yields absolutely no negative environmental consequences. It’s probably more than rare. I’d wager that such a feat has never occurred. It’s all the more unsettling when one considers such vast civil undertakings as the canal
Graffiti Highway in the Keystone State: the histories of two abandoned roads are as different as their spraypainted messages.
In urban America, it’s a common occurrence for an executive body to determine that a small segment of a public right-of-way should no longer function as a transportation conduit. For whatever reason, that 300-or-so feet of roadway is obsolete. Perhaps it’s because it no longer leads to anything; it was a dead-end that provided access
It’s hardly surprising that I might begin a brief blog article with a trash can. Lord knows I’ve featured items even more banal as the central subject. But trash cans in the era of COVID take on an added weight, even when they tend to remain unusually empty. (And COVID is a subject that at
Roadside grave markers in New Mexico: bike or cross, they suggest a story. Which is sometimes better than telling one.
Six years ago, the idea of ghost bikes began to haunt my imagination (pun fully intended). These homegrown commemorations intrigued me so much that they served as the feature within my first of many articles for Huffington Post. While that news outlet no longer appears to have the financial solvency to support independent bloggers, the
I’ve always been partial to seasonal displays—to any arrangement of objects, shapes, or colors that defies its backdrop and commands attention simply for being different. I think, in recent years, it’s become a more common sighting in grocery stores for all variety of holidays, not just because food manufacturers capitalize on special occasions to market
Given the patchwork of regulatory subcultures that our country’s federalist system inevitable creates, it should come as no surprise that this vast, diverse country is eliciting widely variable responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of the key metrics—confirmed cases, deaths, recoveries—and in the fuzzier, day-to-day manifestation of this most acute of public health