Have you ever seen a super-sized tree of unnatural height that looks completely out of place? It towers high above all the other trees near it. Although it’s trying to fit in, it sticks out like a sore thumb and calls attention to itself. You won’t find this tree in a field guide. I’m referring to cell phone towers that are masquerading as trees.
The first time I saw one of these tree towers, I was dumbfounded. The shape was unnatural and completely disproportionate. The branches were awkwardly positioned. These “trees” are reminiscent of a worn-out, artificial Christmas decoration that should be kept unopened in the corner of someone’s attic. I admire the attempt to blend in a man-made object with the natural surroundings, but I think these pseudo-trees don’t look very real. Who knows though? Maybe the birds like the extra-high vantage point.
Decorated utility boxes are another man-made object demanding our attention. They don’t blend in with the natural environment because they are painted with loud, brightly-colored flowers or other abstract art. When I’m negotiating a busy intersection, I find it unnerving to see a large, psychedelic-colored ‘tissue box’ out of the corner of my eye. Your brain is forced to try to decipher the meaning of the artwork, instead of observing the traffic signal and watching out for pedestrians. Although they can be pretty, these elaborately painted utility boxes distract me and scream for my attention in Technicolor. If kept their normal shade of silver-gray, they wouldn’t really be noticeable. To be fair, the use of bright colors is probably a deterrent to graffiti and the boxes do give local artists a canvas for expression.
So, what do you think about cell phone towers masquerading as “trees” and larger than life “flowers” on utility boxes? Do these decorated man-made objects do a good job blending into the environment or do they look fake and unnatural to you?