Monday, October 11, 2010

When the expected becomes unexpected

To get to the bamboo forest, you cross a gorgeous piece of architecture. It builds expectations and transports you from city to green space. From views of apartment buildings, high rises and skyscrapers, to views of greenery, river, jumping fish, and lush, rolling hills.

Yet, not knowing where exactly we were going, we ended up being deceived by what will be the future of the forest. A small row of bamboo, which hides the expansion of the forest and creates a mirage that pulled us toward it and away from the actual forest. Disappointed, we wondered if that was all there was. A small, misleading row.

This can’t be the forest.

Then, I saw it.

If we had only looked to the left instead of right, we would have been at the forest.

After being deceived by a mirage and feeling a small plateau of disappointment, the serenity around the actual forest was amplified. Not only was there calm, but relief.

Disappointment assuaged.

When we got to the edge of the bamboo forest, I stopped talking at a regular volume and started whispering. Tall green space creates an enchanting, serene mood and wards off the hustle and bustle of the city that surrounds it. A welcome break from everyday life in the city, the smell changes from one of car exhaust and warm pavement to fresh, damp soil and greenery. Each time I find a green space like this in a city, I am blown away by the different atmosphere and calm surrounding it. Rather than worrying about what I have to do next, which bus I need to take, which class I need to teach, where I can find that perfect thingamajig, I am soothed, relaxed and reenergized. The feeling is magnificent, and I’m glad Ulsan saw the need to reforest this particular area.

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