Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

The division created by a subdivision

with 20 comments

Wildflower Field by Subdivision 7882

Click for greater size and clarity.

In these pages I rarely let human elements intrude on nature, but that’s the whole point of today’s picture. Here you see a sight that has become common in central Texas over the past few decades: a subdivision adjacent to a field that still looks the way the land under the subdivision* had looked until a short time before. I encountered this scene on May 17th in Leander, a rapidly growing suburb north of Austin. Notice how the fence prevents most of the residents from even seeing the field of wildflowers that is the natural heritage of this region. The field’s location along an increasingly busy road dooms it to get covered before long, most likely with stores or houses or apartments. The people who inhabit those buildings in decades to come will probably never know that the land used to look the way you see it here.


* July 4th of 2011, one month into this blog, was the only other time I showed a subdivision.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 27, 2013 at 6:12 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Sad, isn’t it?

    Cindy Hoyt

    May 27, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    • It is. In the 14 years that I’ve been photographing nature, I’ve seen property after property disappear.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 6:43 AM

  2. Recent discussions with folks about “In Flanders Fields” apparently still are lurking about in my subconscious. For your field, I’ll offer this little token.

    In Austin fields wildflowers grow
    between the houses, row on row,
    that fill our space, and from the sky
    sweet mockingbirds still bravely sing
    though barely heard ‘mid din below.

    Loss is loss. The question is how to stop it in the present and prevent it in the future.


    May 27, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    • Ah, if only I knew the way to stop that loss…. Flowered fields continue to be my Flanders fields.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 7:14 AM

  3. I’d knock my fence down if I was on the perimeter of that lot. HOA be damned.


    May 27, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  4. you wrote>>The people who inhabit those buildings in decades to come will probably never know that the land used to look the way you see it here.>>

    not entirely true…by posting this picture you’ve assured someone, somewhere, will run across it in 2053 and think “whoa! that’s what open fields around Austin looked like!?”

    I thank you for that.

    What each of us saw, did and thought matters. The entire reason I blog is to leave a tiny scratch on the wall for other people to find. Today you left a really deep cut; it won’t go unnoticed.


    May 27, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and hopeful comment. I hope our “scratches” last, but blogging is still such a relatively new phenomenon that I have to wonder how many of the things we post now will be available to readers in 2053. I’d like to think they will be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 9:24 AM

  5. I hope the people in the upper floors look out from their bedroom windows sometimes and appreciate the beautiful view.

    Emily Heath

    May 27, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    • I wondered about the upper floors, too, because only from that high up (or else peeking through cracks in the fence) would someone inside the subdivision see the wildflower field. If I were a journalist I’d be tempted to go interview some of the residents and find out what they think about the wildflowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    • Perhaps the little ones who inhabit the playhouse do. Visions such as this used to amaze me as a child, but then, perhaps the children these days see things differently?


      May 27, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      • Good for you to have noticed the playhouse and thought about the children. I hope they’re not sitting inside there looking at their smart phones the whole time.

        Steve Schwartzman

        May 28, 2013 at 7:42 AM

  6. Not covered with just “stores or houses or apartments”… this is how all of Highland Mall looked back in the 60’s when I’d go out to pick wildflowers.


    May 27, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    • I’ve read and heard reports of scenes like the one you mention, which is only about five miles from downtown Austin. I wasn’t here before Highland Mall was built, but a decade ago I could still find “vacant” lots near there that were covered with wildflowers. I haven’t checked in recent years, but maybe I should.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM

  7. Wonderfully and so poignantly said… And beyond sad. One would hope that architects today would have a better, more enlightened perspective of nature, yes?


    May 28, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    • One would hope, but I’ve been hoping since 1999 for a slowdown in the destruction of land that’s in a natural or semi-natural state, for the setting aside of more parcels in the midst of rapid development—but to little avail.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 28, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      • Ditto, ditto… But there has to be a slow-down. There just *must* be. And then, when they DO rip up more land for single-family homes? They block off, as you say, all access to the natural world. It’s devastating on so many levels.


        May 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        • One little thing that sometimes works in our favor is that some land isn’t suitable for building, typically because it periodically gets inundated. I’ve been grateful for ravines, canyons, sumps, and the like, because in those places nature is often allowed to survive and be itself.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 28, 2013 at 10:17 PM

  8. Heureusement que la nature reprend ses droits, ce champ est magnifique mais le restera-t-il longtemps.. !
    Dans notre pays les routes et les constructions les remplacent ..


    May 29, 2013 at 4:55 AM

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