Monday, September 08, 2008

What happened in this alley?

Lives happened here
Montreal, QC, August 2008 [Click to enlarge]

Continuing with this week's Thematic Photographic theme, faded, I wanted to share this image captured on a walk through downtown Montreal one morning last month. It was a brilliantly lit day, and I found myself challenged by the deep shadows that seemed to dominate the narrow streets and alleyways of this old neighborhood.

I don't imagine this place was ever sleek or magazine-worthy. But I was captivated by the fact that there were windows everywhere. Even in the most humble places, there was a place for someone to sit, gaze and wonder about the world outside. The cracked pavement, weather-worn brick and concrete stained by multiple graffiti-cleaning cycles were all testament to invisible lives that have all passed through this seemingly abandoned alley.

The beauty lies in our ability to stop and wonder what those lives must have been - or indeed still are - like. I hope you'll take a moment to do just that.

Your turn: These windows have stories. What might one be? Oh, before I forget: It's not too late to share in this week's Thematic Photographic (here) and the latest Caption This (here).


Ontario Emperor said...

I looked out the window and saw nothing.

tommie said...

That view would make me want to paint my walls some bright cheerful colors.

Mojo said...

Hmm... Well the Jets came in from this end, the Sharks came in from the other end and they all had this big production number and then Tony got knifed, and...

Doh... that's the wrong town isn't it?

Looks like something should be there. It doesn't so much look empty as just wrong.

Clean -- as alleyways go -- but wrong.

Mojo said...

Oh this is Montreal? I missed that part. Okay, well when the Habs beat the Bruins in the Conference Quarterfinal this could be the crematorium for one of the police cars. (Did anyone else see the irony in the mayor making the fire stations take the Canadiens artwork off their windows only to have three of his patrol cars torched later? Makes you wonder...)

Nestor Family said...

He paced the width of this alley restless in his thoughts... ready to get going, but waiting is what he did. His hands stuffed to the bottom of his jean jacket pockets, fists clenched. Sighing... then The Guy came. The Guy backed him up against the wall and he could feel the window ledge against the back of his head, making him dip his head as if to cower. He didn't need the ledge's help, however, as The Guy announced, "You need to pay me TODAY!"

An attempt at a little snippet of a short story for ya today! What do you think? :-)

Nestor Family said...

P.S. Love this photo!

Anonymous said...

She sat in her usual chair, staring out the window, as usual, looking down the alley, wishing and hoping that he'd come walking along. He'd been gone for eighteen months. Eighteen long months. In that time she'd birthed their first son. Lovers should not be apart for so long. She missed his strong arm around her shoulder. He was her best friend, after all. When would this war end?

"Mary Elizabeth!"
He was back!

dave said...

He hadn't stood in this alley for a good thirty years, easy. He moved over a little to the right because he played left field back then. They didn't mind hitting the ball into the street. They had learned their lesson about broken windows real quick.
It would start to get late and grandma would yell out that third floor window down there,
"'s getting late. You guys can't see."
Just one more out and he was up second when his team was up at bat.
"In a minute Grandma" he'd yell back. Grandma would give him one of those 'whatever' kind of waves and just go back to her crossword at the kitchen table.

awareness said...

The first thought that came to mind was a picture of a garment factory inside one of the buildings...filled with overheated underpaid workers feeling fatigued and forgotten.....

they look out the window during their long days and try to imagine the blue sky freedom beyond the alley.