I remember walking this block a few years ago and feeling sorry for this stump. I’d find myself thinking about it at odd times—the distended wood bulging out of the ornamental tree cage, the wrought iron slicing through its bark—and imagining how the tree met its untimely demise. As I discovered the other day, the sorry stump also captured the imagination of someone else, who decided to return it to its former glory (or at least an artist’s close approximation). To me, this is the ultimate urban commentary: it offers a temporary solution, a vision for the future of the street, and, depending on the time of day, even a little functional shade as the shadow of the “tree” creeps out to the side. I snapped a photo of the reforestation project, and as I walked away, a man carrying a red Igloo cooler stopped where I had been standing. “I never saw that until now,” he said.
Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato eater, and a walker in L.A. She shares an experience from her adventures around town at CityThink each Wednesday. Follow her daily on Instagram at @awalkerinLA, on Twitter, or at her blog, and use the hashtag #betteroffped to share your own photographs of walking in L.A.