I am grateful for the rain today, even though I bristled at its inconvenience as I drove down the pothole filled road, car still loaded with market gear and a loudly whining medium sized dog. I saw the foggy mist hanging thick amongst the old brick buildings that flanked the road, an alive being made of cool winter water, bacteria, hydrogen and oxygen, airborne pollution, PFOA chemicals, micro-plastics, and miracles yet unknown to modernity’s clenched understanding of things.
There’s an ancient Song embedded within each brick that make up the old factories that line the water’s edge in the neighborhood I live in. Most are abandoned, their magnificent power laying like sleeping dragons in the jungles of Sumatra, vines and roots growing up and through the once bustling doorways and balconies, ports and office rooms where now raccoons raise their young and seagulls fight over foraged french fries.
The red bricks lay cracked and fractured all around, turning as they were, back into the red Earth that is their mother. Clay and Fire. Mortar and Bone.
The Song takes the walls of once thought eternal structures and consumes them.
I gaze at the sunlight piercing through the thick grey blanket of water laden clouds, the air thick with the spray of cold rain and mist from the Lake, the cry of gulls and geese. I feel into my own internal factory walls, the residual confines and stables of my own wild soul, my colonization, my deafness…..my detachment from the Song…
… the gnawing scarcity that inflames the mind and deadens the heart…
The deranged cult of “progress at any cost”, the cultural and economic fever dream of continual accumulation and development, would reinforce, retrofit, “revitalize” such structures, slapping drywall and untold tonnes of petroleum derived buildings materials, slabs of plastic made to look like wood, onto the old factory walls and charge a premium for “loft” rentals. New “private property” and “NO LOITERING, Police enforced” signs would be arranged against the pesticide laden landscaping and fleets of security cameras.
But what if we……. didn’t?
………..What if we didn’t…………
What if we let the walls continue to crumble, to succumb to the beauty and grace of falling apart, of unraveling, of red dust and dandelion, ruin and home for Mason Bee and Black Bird? What if we let ourselves break open? What if we paused, if just for a moment, and allowed ourselves to feel the aching and awkward soul loss that terrifies the civilized mind, always optimizing and reforming old structures, slapping anti-bacterial cream and hand sanitizer on old wounds….never enough.
Could we gather in the old and beautiful ruins of our historic citadels of commodity and callous confinement and tell stories, share some songs, grow gardens and harvest flowers, and learn to take care of each other again?
Could we even cry a little and allow some crumbling and humbling, some vulnerability and wild beauty to be born from the bones of an old story?