Saturday, October 20, 2007

Smoked. Stacked.

Towering bricks
London, ON, October 2007

[Click to embiggen]

Hospitals are fascinating places, jumbles of buildings that have been haphazardly built and connected over the years as community needs have evolved. These looming structures seem to tell the story of the city's growth, much like the rings of a tree speak of its life.

At a forgotten edge of the south campus of the London Health Science Centre sits a row of forgettable old brick buildings. Abandoned equipment sits outside dusty windows that never seem to have real people on the other side. The insides are dark, industrial, and probably haven't changed since long before I was born.

Towering over the landscape of cracked pavement and scrubby grass is a smokestack whose brickwork betrays its age. As I stand in its shadow on this cold and windy day, I hope the missing chunks of masonry aren't indicative of a weak structure.

I come to this campus every week to donate blood. We've also been bringing our son to this hospital for his regular ortho appointments and cast replacements. The irony of growth, life and renewal isn't lost on me as I stand among structures whose life seems to have vanished decades ago.

I think I need to spend more time walking around the grounds.

Your turn: The things this structure has seen. Please discuss.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Morning, darling!

That picture reminds me of the old smokestacks from the famed Pittsburgh steel mills. Most of them are gone now; I'm not sure we should mourn the loss of the pollution, at least.

Some stacks remain, as a testament to the mills. Those are cool.

I still don't miss the pollution. And I wasn't even alive for the worst of it!

Shephard said...

I had to zoom in on this one. The pattern is fascinating. IO love it. You always have such a great eye for texture!

As tall as it is... I doubt it has missed much.

Michele says hello!

Smiler said...

Hey Carmi! Thanks for you latest visit. I replied to your comment on my blog. But more importantly, did you see I tagged you for a meme yesterday?

Karen said...

OK, wait. You donate blood EVERY week? I thought you were only supposed to do that once a month. My, you must have a lot of blood, Carmi. I'm impressed.

I have no comments on the smokestacks, except that you always capture things poetically through your camera lense.

Michele sent me today, Carmi. Enjoy your day. I must go and walk the dog and enjoy our gorgeous weather!

Carmi said...

Donations of blood plasma (plasmapheresis) have a deferral period of 6 days, up to a maximum of 26 donations within a 6-month period. unlike whole blood, which has a 56-day deferral period, plasma donors get back all of their red blood cells when they donate, so they can come back within a week. Most regular donors schedule the same time every week, and build it into their routine.

Platelet donors have a 14-day deferral period.

November Rain said...

michelle sent me and I must say wow
this is something to stop and think about

the growth of a city
these looming structures seem to tell the story of the city's growth, much like the rings of a tree speak of its life.

this time it was you who painted imagery with words which was as wonderful as the pictures you always share

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What you say about the Symbolizm of Hospitals is so true. You could have been writing about any Hospital right here in Los Angeles--County General, (Now USC County Hospital) Or Cedars-Sanai...because these places absolutely reflect the growth of the city....To be honest Carmi, I never thought of it this way but it is so right on the money! I guess if you want to see how a city has grown over the years, just look at ALL the buildings that have been added on in often a haphazard manner...These places are now like little cities in themselves, in a way, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Oh now see I would be just ambitious enough to see if I could go inside those buildings. I always have to know what's in an old building. I love them. Wonderful post.

vicki said...

This post put me in mind of the similar smokestack on a building at the zoo where I work. And then I thought about all the wonderful old buildings there- several on the historic register- that have been home to countless animals. Over time they've been transitioned to spacious, comfortable and more natural settings for the endangered species we are working to preserve. A far cry from the early days of these same buildings.

texasblu said...

Hi Carmi, Michele sent me. :)

I often think like this too. I just went to a museum and my thoughts were, "what stories these things could tell..."

Cool thoughts my friend! :)