Friday, December 07, 2007

Poinsettia Protest

My friend Jim Binckley bought my attention to a column by Diane Brown in this weeks Columbia Flier. It seems that an ad hoc group of Columbians is planning a little protest this Sunday.

Claire Lea, Sandi Carbotti and Janet Shinski are planning on converging on the center court fountain at noon this Sunday with a poinsettia in hand "to make a statement."

"The loss of the tree is the loss of tradition," says Claire. "Our tradition seems to have been arbitrarily demoted. It's just gone. And I believe there are thousands of us who remember and who want it back. It's just so sad."

Thousands?

Perhaps. It will be interesting to see how many people show. I'll be there, with a poinsettia in one hand and a camera in the other.

Karen Geary, the mall manager, tried to justify the poinsettia trees demise with this letter to editor. I don't know about you but to me the letter rang a little hollow and a little preachy.

2 comments:

Tom said...

There may not be a pointsetta tree at the mall, but there are hundreds of pointsettas all over the mall.

Anonymous said...

The sentiments in Karen's letter didn't hit me as preachy, but there's many levels on which to consider the issue. Contributing to the community doesn't require sacrificing or supplanting holiday decoration traditions, especially considering all the business holiday shopping brings the Mall.

The Mall, to many, has served as Columbia's Main Street. This center spot along that 'street', originally and for years, was the center fountain, serving as an aesthetic spot to meet when traveling separately to the Mall, rejoining when splitting up to shop separately for a while, pausing during errands, and, during the holidays, beautifully reminding of the reason for holiday shopping in the first place.

So, now the center location in Columbia's de facto Main Street has instead become a year-round new car showroom instead. And many of the trees that used to adorn the Mall's interior were replaced with many kiosks/carts instead.

On many levels, I think to myself, "So what?" If additional development is to be put in Town Center, what better place then within the Mall itself? That such denser development within the Mall replaces non-native trees or that it replaces a seasonal display of flowers therein bothers me only a little.

But on another level, such ongoing sacrifices of the Mall's interior aesthetics does all the more make the point that Bridget Mugane, Lloyd Knowles, and others have made in the Columbia Flier and elsewhere - that Town Center's destinations are disappearing. Preserve those destinations and the oft-mentioned vibrancy is preserved along with them.

What bothers me more is that such denser development within the Mall doesn't have to replace either - it can be done without removing the pieces of nature that did bless the Mall for years.

May your holidays be peaceful, joyful, beautiful, and mindful of those less fortunate.