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Today, I unwittingly walked into a cloud of bees. It was warm out and I was looking ahead, down the alley, at some flowering trees so didn’t notice the hive in the shade of a shed. I walked into the path of the bees at the same moment I heard the buzzing and the bees started hitting me. Tiny body-slams, but no harm either way.

. . .

Many times in the last six months we’ve walked past the vacant Mount Bachelor skiers’ park-and-ride lot notable only as a wide expanse of pavement with a tall, open and unused bus shelter. The pavement is cut with squares containing trees. Surely last fall, the trees’ leaves turned yellow, fell, and were scooped and swirled across the asphalt by high desert breezes. Last winter when we walked this way, we barely glanced at the vacant park-and-ride lot. There was nothing to see except a wasteland of cracked and buckling asphalt. If asked, I would have said, those trees are certainly dead.

trees flowering in an abandoned parking lot in Bend, Oregon

Today though, what a surprise to see the skiers’ park-and-ride lot exquisitely ornamented with pink blossoming trees like an oversize collection of garlands or leis, as if someone was preparing for a fancy (or fanciful) event in this starkly unused space.

How have these sweet flowering trees survived in a deserted desert parking lot? Does someone water them on hot summer days? Who sweeps the pink petals that fall and drift away?

Sometimes there are newspaper articles relating plans and schemes to redo the parking lot space—primarily in ways unlikely to require a grid of blossoming trees.

The trees, though, would like to promote the following uses of the abandoned skiers’ park-and-ride lot: kite flying, weddings, a farmers’ market, and strategically placed benches where people can come and contemplate clouds or stay up late and watch meteor showers. The trees would also like to request beehives be brought in for a few weeks in May.


Photo: Katie Eberhart.