Beauty on Rockville Pike


I work in Twinbrook, just off Rockville Pike.

Rockville Pike and its general vicinity, if you don’t know it, is about as dense as suburban sprawl can get.  It is a Mecca of strip malls, shopping centers, pavement, asphalt, traffic lights, and of course, traffic.

Today at lunch, I had an errand to run over at a nearby bank, in one of the strip shopping centers. I parked my car in shopping center lot (since the bank itself only has about five spaces, which are always in use), and walked over to the bank.

On the way, next to a different bank, I noticed something in the gutter and did a double-take.  It looked like flowers, growing right out of the asphalt of the bank’s drive-through lane.

I went ahead and took care of my business, and on the way back from the bank, I stopped to double-check, thinking that maybe it was just a discarded plant, and not actually growing there.  But sure enough, there was a strong and healthy pink Impatiens plant, growing up from the crack between where the cement of the curb ended and the asphalt of the street began.

This was amazing!   I popped back to my car and got my camera, see here:

If you click on the set to the right, there are six more pictures in the set.

If these photos had been in the “Successory” line of motivational posters, the caption would probably be along the lines of “Optimism:  Striving to succeed even in the face of apparent impossibility.”  Or something along those platitudinal lines.

The truth is probably more mundane, and simply opportunistic (but the result certainly isn’t any less pleasing.) You can see in the picture that there is a rain drain built into the curb, and the plant has grown up right in front of the drain.  My guess is that sometime earlier, some seeds or maybe a small young plant got washed out of the drain, and managed to get a root-hold in the crack.   How is has not been run over is the real mystery.  

These bold flowers lifted my spirits all by themselves,  but my spirits (and humor) rose even more so by what happened next.

On my way to the bank earlier I had noticed a biker across the street, leaning on a Harley, loitering, idly waiting around for who knows what.  Later, while I was taking pictures, I looked up to see the biker, long hair, tattoos, boots and all, ambling over to me in the way that only a hard-bitten Harley rider can.

 “I was wondering what you were looking at before,”  he said in a gruff Biker Voice, apparently referring to when I had checked out the flowers on my second pass.

I said, yep, it’s pretty amazing that the flowers are growing right there, and haven’t been run over.

“Yeah,” he grunted, peering down at the plant.   “And isn’t that an annual?” 

Well, that was not among the Top Five things I expected this man to say.  But, he was right. Indeed, impatiens are in fact annuals.

Morals of this story:  Beauty can bloom anywhere, even in the heart of Rockville Pike.
And, never judge a biker by his cover.

Will Seabrook is a collector of half-finished projects, author of half-completed stories, and writer of half-written songs. During the day, he can be found half the time half-heartedly working in Rockville and the other half in Bethesda. The rest of his life is spent half in the DC area and half in Baltimore. He has half a mind to move halfway closer to where he works, but that’d take too much effort by half.

2 thoughts on “Beauty on Rockville Pike

  1. The best part is that you stopped to smell the flowers. That’s what a lot of DCityzens need to do more often.