Monday, August 17, 2009

The Solitude of Ruin...

I am drawn to ruined things, rusty parts and pieces, and frayed edges. I am perhaps enchanted by these objects and places in various states of decay as much as I am taken in by traditionally beautiful things. Maybe even more sometimes. Perhaps it's the ghost of them that call to me? Or that in their fading and falling apart, quiet stories are told. Industrial things no longer needed, wanted, loved... they are evidence, artifacts, remembrances and my imagination is a medium that unlocks the untold tales.

Today I went for a walk. I started out at the park. Children were playing, people were crowded on park benches, families were laughing – all of them were enjoying the summer outside in a lovely place overlooking the City. But my mind sought solitude away from the hundreds. So I walked towards the river. Thirty years ago, twenty years ago, fifteen years ago – even ten... walking towards the river was not a safe thing to do. The Wilds of Brooklyn, were truly that. The stories I've heard would chill the most sturdy of stock.

But these places are forgotten now, even to those who would wish to remain in the shadows. Now the cables and wires lay twisted and exposed, opened to the elements. The buildings are now abandoned and there is no need for them or their purposes. All the lines are silent.

Windows lay, littered, on the ground in sparkling, shifting, mosaics. Barbed wire, once meant to keep people out, has long rusted and fallen and only guards against the careless.

But even in the ruined places, flanked by chain link fence and crumbling foundations, life persists. Wild blackberries with their own barbed defenses grow. Sweet, tart berries are left to rot. No one is there to pick them or to be pricked – not even the cunning house sparrows.

Even still, there are traces left. Pieces of torn dresses can be found like fallen flags, hinting at horrible misdeeds. The solitude of ruined places is not a completely quiet one, but one filled with echoes, shadows of ghosts and the things that remain and have not yet yielded – that have not been swallowed up by the earth.


Liquidambar Studio said...

very chilling.

kvk said...

Beautiful. There is no light without the dark. "The solitude of ruin" - so much possibility in those four words. My own recurring theme - vestiges of a forgotten history - seems to tie in here as well.

We just watched a profile of Richard Avedon last night. Many of his portraits express this very idea. That leads me to think of Diane Arbus and one of my favorite movies, 'Fur'. Darkly compelling.

Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

wileybead said...

I lived in the Village for many years. Never did much in Brooklyn. I'm sorry about that now. I know what you mean about finding beauty and art in the ruins. Thanks for reminding me. You have inspired me to get out my camera, get it away from the "expected" and poke it in the corners. Thanks.