Dear Greensboro,

Have you ever wondered why in a softly sweeping field we often see clusters of flowers and tall shoots of sundry flora near fences? It was recently revealed to me that this picturesque arrangement occurs when seeds floating in the wind, encounter an obstacle and fall to the earth to take residence among their fellow transplants. It strikes me as quite poetic. This boundary, intended to define some parcel of land or to contain the grazing fauna, becomes an edge condition which transforms in nature’s gentle flow, becoming something more – a place to pause, to rest with one’s back against the posts and amongst the aromatic buds of color. One could say it’s nature’s curiosity of the man-made, a gentle ebb and flow to the order of things.

This condition is not so dissimilar from other organic encounters that emerge from the carefully planned realm of urbanity. A great deal of effort goes into the design of a city’s ordered streets. More often than not, however, the desire is for this infrastructural network to fade into the background, to feel like a ‘field’ condition in support of the consummate interventions which will define the City. When it comes to the structures that make up the urban environment, walls are like the fence. They are erected to serve a purpose, to enclose space and to provide boundaries for people and goods. But walls seem to have lost their luster in this new era of economy. They no longer boast the depth and relief as in ages past, speaking then to the permanence of their structural materials. Rather they have slimmed down, grown rigid in their flattened planes – efficient and shallow in support of functions held within. 

Enter “Dear Greensboro,” a project beginning with this letter to you. I’ve been searching for a way to share my thoughts. I think this will be a fun experiment in literary style and suggestive content. I want to challenge the agency of the ‘wall mural.’ As we see a tidal wave of mural imagery popping up on walls both here and elsewhere, I wonder if my letters to you can symbolize something larger, something deeper – I mean, in the end, they’re all about you, Greensboro! So let’s stoke up the tradition of letter writing and let’s make a giant sign, akin to the chalk drawings of children on the sidewalk, but one that won’t get washed away in the rain. It will be a piece of art, a giant stamp right here on the envelope that is Greensboro, reminding us to open it up and look inside at the layered performances playing out before our very eyes.

When I started writing these letters to you – this is certainly not the first draft, nor will it be the last story I have to tell – I wanted them to be a kind of gift. Not the terribly expensive kind, not the type that make you feel you need to repay in any way – just something to remind you of all the wonderful times we’ve had and will continue to have together. They’re a gesture to encourage you to grow and learn, but also, to Just Be you, Greensboro. How fitting that I should happen upon one of your many treasures, a shop that encourages us all to do just that. Inside, filled with gifts and mementos of the people and stories that make you who you are, I think this is where the drifting seed will thrive. Mr. Kundera once said that “there is a secret bond between slowness and memory, between speed and forgetting.” Give space to ponder. Provide moments of intrigue and engagement. In so doing, you’ll inevitably provide space to Just… Be. 

The great architect Louis Kahn was famously noted as asking the brick what it wanted to be. He exclaimed that the brick replied confidently, “I want to be an arch!” Well now I wish to ask the humble wall what it wants to be. I think it wants to be a fence. And not just any fence, but one like in the field – a place where one might pause and revel in the rich narrative of a good story, or a letter . . . 


Your partner in crime, your friend, . . . yours.

SynerG Young Professionals

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