Stranded in a tree between the Knights of Columbus building and Sacred Heart Catholic Church, this bag must have heavenly aspirations. More than just caught, this bag is downright clutching these branches, as if hanging on by conviction alone. Many of Baltimore's bags travel in and out of our trees, our streets and our sights, but I have a sneaking suspicion this one may stay put for a long time.
Twisted precariously in a leafless branch, this bag has likely seen better days. Although still in tact, it is only one good storm or gust of wind away from possible ruin. But the beauty of these 'plastic accessories' is there ability to persevere as well as their ephemeralness. Stories abound of bags caught in trees for weeks or months, all of which continue to make BIT staffers very pleased.
Baltimore's Royal Farms convenience stores are one of the city's best sources for bags in trees, especially on the East side. There are four Royal Farms in the Greater Canton area alone! This gorgeous bag is catching a gust of wind late in the afternoon at the Royal Farms on Fleet St in Brewer's Hill.
This photo was taken under the watchful eye of a homeowner from his rooftop deck. Although the staff of BIT is dedicated to documenting our city's festooned foliage, apparently taking pictures of bags in trees is still considered unusual to those that aren't in 'the know.' But we are a dedicated bunch, and regardless of judgment — we push on.
Today, Picador releases a new edition of sworn BIT enemy Ian Frazier's book Gone to New York: Adventures in the City, which contains the (in)famous "Bags in Trees" essay. Don't let the book's sexy cover fool you, for it contains the most shameless anti-bag blasphemy known to man. Frazier has a total god complex. Who does he think he is trying to remove bags from trees that found their way there naturally?
Imagine the calming sound of a bag fluttering in the wind outside of your bedroom window. The residents of this rowhouse near the corners of S Ellwood Ave and Foster Ave have probably already been blessed with this moving melody in nights passed. Although their windows were closed this day, many pro-bag and pro-wind fans alike would jump at the chance to hear this rustling refrain. These Baltimoreans were fortunate with this bag's resting place, but it seems the rest of us will continue to rely on chance for our opportunity.
BIT apologizes for our absence these past few days—moving across the country certainly takes its toll on the brain, even in matters of utmost importance like bags in trees. Today's Guest BIT comes from our newest contributor, the enigmatic and mysterious American Geisha. (Not to be confused with this one.) Straight from Fells Point comes this buoyant bag perched atop a wonderfully backlit tree. The powerlines offer some great man-made counterpoint to the bag's unaffected naturalness.
"All roads lead to Rome..." or Highlandtown! This ragged-looking bag was discovered near the corners of S Conkling St and Eastern Ave in Baltimore's "Hollantown" neighborhood. One of the more hard-working and colorful communities in eastern Baltimore, these store-lined streets are destined to bring Bags In Trees plenty of inspiration in the months and years to come.
Speaking of inspiration, let's take a moment to welcome back BIT's founder, Brian Sacawa, who is returning to Charm City after four years away. Glad to have you back, Brian!
witches' knickersn.pl. plastic bags that have caught in trees and bushes.
We here at BIT are well-travelled, discerning, enlightened, intellectually aware, and cultured enough to know that bags in trees are far from being a solely Baltimore-based enterprise (although we'd surely like to think so). No, bags in trees have been spotted around the globe and on several continents. Here's a sampling of some of the colorful names that the objects of our affection have garnered worldwide:
Snagged in treetops in Ireland, they become “witches’ knickers." Alaskans call them “tundra ghosts” and “landfill snowbirds.” In China, they’re “white pollution.” South Africans have sarcastically dubbed them their “national flower.”
Stacey Alatzas, the publisher of Bel Air News & Views, sends us this blue bag from Bel Air (a bit of a stretch from our roots, but appreciated nonetheless) and writes the following:
"This bag has endured probably more than six months. My 3-year-old daughter thought it was a blue bird when she spied it in a bird's nest high atop an Ash tree. It remained stuck in that nest until those monsoon rains we several weeks ago. I just happened to be looking out my daughter's bedroom window the moment falling rain finally dislodged the bag from its perch and sent it tumbling down the tree branches. Torn in several places, it managed to entangle itself once again on the lower branches of a Hemlock tree. My husband tried to get at it, but it fell on our neighbor's property, beyond a barbed wire fence. The only way to reach it is to drive a quarter mile to the front of the property and then trek through a large field. I think we'll let nature continue to take its course."
Today's BIT is brought to you today by the letter F, and the number 4. This fine white bag is flying high near the corner of Fagley Street and Fait Avenue in Brewers Hill. In honor of all bags in trees fighting against oppression, I present to you—a haiku.
The bag catches wind— Branches of an urban tree Lonely no longer
Some serious investigative work by our research department today yielded an intriguing discovery—Bags In Trees' sister site from across the pond. Straight from the UK, Turquoise Bag in a Tree is an ongoing project by artist Hilary Jack, which focuses on the environmental impact of plastic carrier bags. Here's a bit of her artistic statement:
"Turquoise carrier bags are essentially an urban phenomenon, closely linked to the city and its consumer culture. Used once they are frequently deemed functionless and discarded as waste, becoming ubiquitous remnants of urban man’s modern way of life. Some bags escape their fate as rubbish only to get caught trees. Urban trees and shrubbery planted at the whim of an architect or urban planner become a magnet for urban detritus, turquoise bags being the most visible. As a reminder of our consumer culture the bags hang there melancholically, taking years to decay, and acting as an absurd memorial to our excesses."
Video of a turquoise bag in a tree by Hilary Jack
That video is so sexy. According to her biography, Ms. Jack enjoys "highlighting the absurdity of the human condition and the poetry that can be found in the everyday." If one thing is certain, it's that she's a serious artist. I hope she doesn't mind our cheekiness!
Pro-BITters (and those who are also pro-wind): do your part to enforce the embargo on the device that threatens our very existence—as mentioned in Clyde Haberman's irreverant article in the Feb 6, 2004 edition of The New York Times.