Coyotes on the Golf Course – Photos and text by Janne Larsen
I had what seems to me the quintessential Los Angeles moment one morning at Griffith Park. On an early morning hike, I witnessed a pack of coyotes inhabiting a luscious green with a pack of plaid garbed golfers. The golfers paid no heed or were perhaps unaware of these skulking animals weaving through the trees around them. They proceeded to golf while the coyotes continued to follow them, seemingly at ease with one another. This idea of the wild west constantly lurking in the shadows amidst this urban metropolis is the essence of Los Angeles to me. The inherent wildness slowly reveals itself as you plunge deeper into the layers of the city. Los Angeles is an apocalyptic city precisely because of it’s relationship to nature – floods, wildfires, tsunamis, earthquakes, and drought not to mention the man-made conflicts within its tumultuous history. Ultimately, the people who casually pass through never get this about our urban sprawl: the wild lurking behind the façade.
This led me to start noticing when the natural elements and the man-made coexist in ways which hint at a grander battle. This is most apparent in the cracked sidewalks or abandoned buildings with the natural overgrowth that smothers, and covers and pulls down walls over time. On a more subtle note, I began noting street signs around the city that have plants growing through their structure. These signs are human attempts to communicate a law or courtesy. The plants use these signs as trestles and are indicative of the wildness, the un-tameable. When I notice these small treasures, they give me a punk rock feeling of victory. These plants follow no human rules. I understand that this feeling of glee is childish, but it speaks to the larger environmental crux we are living in at the moment, wherein the natural world seems to be the underdog.
This typology is a dedication to nature and all of its variety of riches it gives to us in the most unexpected ways.