Sunday, November 29, 2009

Building an unseen future

Meeting in the sky
Laval, QC, August 2008

About this photo: It's Thematic Photographic's building week. Click here to share your building-related vision.
It was a topic on which my father and I had long ago agreed to disagree. He always waxed poetic on the pace and scope of urban development. During our visits back home, he never missed an opportunity to talk me through the new areas being carved out of the bush, the ongoing miracle of urbanization.

Similarly, I never missed an opportunity to lament the loss of pristine fields where I had played as a child, quiet forests where entire species once lived. Somewhere between our perspectives lay a balance that our planet needs to figure out, but for as long as I'd known him, we enjoyed staking out our respective spots, then not budging from them. Secretly, I think he enjoyed winding me up. And also secretly, I think I enjoyed the process, too.

So on this early morning, as I walked the quiet streets near his house, I thought about the huge development going up nearby, the two cranes they had brought in to finish the job, and how happy he was to see yet another undeveloped area become a centre of activity and civic life.

The project is now nearing completion and the skyline is forever changed. The next time I walk these streets, I'll look toward the spot where these cranes once marked the sky and imagine that my father would have enjoyed the view.

Your turn: And he would say...?


Gallow said...

My father and I have similar conversation, although they can become very heated. If my wife, children, or mother are around they all say, "No Politics!!". Thank you for reminding me that we can have civil talks with various opinions.

Beth said...

My step-father and I disagree on a lot of topics (religion, politics) but we do love a lively debate. On this subject, I think we'd both agree that we love less development.

What a great memory that you shared.

Mojo said...

..."Your brush style is nooo match for my crane style!" (Okay, he probably wouldn't have said that. I would have said that.)

I remember in the early 90's working in a six-story office building on (what was then) the north edge of town. Ten or fifteen years earlier, you would have found nothing but trees and two lanes of asphalt that far north. Now, 20 years hence, that building has been joined by 4 more plus an additional parking deck on that campus, and a similarly sized complex on the opposite side of the road. the shopping center just north of my old office has been dwarfed by its cousin on the opposite side of the cross street and the road is now five lanes rather than two -- in both directions.

But just south of there, stands a trim little white wood frame house on perhaps 3 or 4 acres of fallow field. No doubt at one time this was a farm, and the original owners -- or their heirs -- still occupy the farmhouse. I keep waiting for the day when greed wins out and the little white house is gone too, but last time I was up there, it was still standing, almost defiant.

I can't believe I've never photographed that place. I need to remedy that while I still can.

Kartenlegen said...

I am teary-eyed while reading this post. I miss doing this with my grandfather, although I am equally troubled by the fact that we will soon be missing more of those pristine areas being destroyed for urbanization.