Thursday, April 10, 2008
Faded, crumbling, defiant
Life amid the ruins
London, Ontario, April 2008 [Click to enlarge]
Note: This is another in a series on finding beauty where you least expect it. Previous entries can be found here, here and here.
The scene: I'm wandering around downtown London with my camera in my hand. It's a brilliant Sunday afternoon, and it's the first day this season that's warm enough for shorts. Which means it's comfortable enough outside for me to linger as I stare at everything in sight, searching for something to capture on a memory card.
I wander down an alleyway. Emboldened by the eerie silence that descends over me as I get further away from the busy street, I keep walking, deeper than I've ever been before. I know I should be even a little afraid, but this is London, after all. Small-city Canadians just don't have it in them to mug a guy for his camera in a back alley.
I'm surrounded by partially collapsed, graffiti-covered brick walls. The colors are faded, dusty. This might be because this place has been around for the better part of a century, but part of me suspects they were just as bleak when first built.
There's no life here. Indeed, nothing can grow in this forgotten place. Or can it? As soon as I complete the thought, I spot a thicket of naked ivy, just waiting for the springtime sun to kick it back to life. This spindly collection of branches clings to the crumbling brick as it defies everything around it, managing to stay alive in spite of its harsh, decaying urban environment.
No one walks back here except for surrounding business owners who take out the trash. I wonder what they think about this place. I wonder if they find this place as strangely comforting as I do.
Your turn: An alley? What the hell am I thinking?