Friday, January 30, 2009

This tree has claimed a bridge of its own

This tree has claimed a bridge of its own
This old bridge built to cross a large drain in the Bukit Timah area has become occupied by a large tree, which has sunk its roots into the metal and concrete of the structure.

Here's what the STOMPer had to say:

"This bridge joins Dunearn Road and Bukit Timah Road opposite Cherry Avenue.

"Part of the bridge is now occupied by a big tree which has sunk its roots into the bridge.

"The tree uses the bridge as a base support.

"One day when the tree has grown too big the bridge may well collapse and the tree will also end up in the canal below.

"Unbeknownst to the tree, its days are already numbered."
Related post: Tree growing on old shophouse may cause pillars to give way (2nd February 2009)

Viewing this post, I'm somehow reminded of an iconic tree, the sacred fig (Ficus religosa) that sprouts at Ta Som in Angkor, Cambodia.

(Photo by bzeni)

In our equatorial climate, plants quickly take root in our concrete structures. Whether it's weeds sprouting up from the pavement, or saplings growing on buildings, I can't help but think about what it would be like if one day, humans were to suddenly vanish from the Earth. What would happen to our buildings, our bridges, our achievements in engineering and construction? I wonder if your average HDB block or Shenton Way tower is built to last as long as the ancient Mayan temples or Angkor Wat. Will Suntec City remain standing as the rainforest returns?

I highly recommend The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It takes a very interesting look at how the world might change should we suddenly disappear one day. Although the forces of nature will quickly destroy and bury much of the signs of our civilisation, there are certain things that probably will linger, hinting at the former existence of an intelligent species that in the end, was still beholden to the forces that drive the never-ending processes of evolution and extinction.