Sunday, September 22, 2019

Blue glass block on a busy beachside street

The shapes and colors of summer
Grand Bend, ON
July 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
Disclosure: I find glass block intriguing. It makes any architecture better by turning what would otherwise be a dark wall or corner into a source of wonderfully soft light. Make it blue and I'll be your friend forever.

I spotted this particular example from far across Grand Bend's busy Main Street. It was a typically hot, humid southwestern Ontario summer's day, and not even the breezes coming off of the lake were enough to take the edge off.

The street bustled with non-stop activity. Kitschy stores selling beach umbrellas, rainbow-colored t-shirts covered with cheeky, cheesy graphics, and other throwaway nonsense strewn over racks haphazardly pushed well into the sidewalk. Stroller-pushing parents desperately trying to keep their kids happy. Knots of teenaged girls seeking the perfect summer selfie. Groups of shirtless teenaged boys talking just a bit too loudly, trying - and failing - to get the girls' attention.

And far, far away, I spot a patch of perfectly geometric blue. The teeming masses don't give it a second look, let alone a first one, as they stream on past.

But I can easily understand why they ignore it. In the rush to squeeze out as much joy from this all-too-brief season, there never seems to be enough time - or maybe it's interest - to appreciate what makes this town unique. The small details that anchor the place, that serve as gauzy summertime memories we'll need to make it through the coming winter months.

Frenetic seems to define this place. Too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done before the weather turns and the stores close for good.

Maybe if the fast-moving crowds on the baking-hot sidewalks slowed down just long enough to take in the faded signs, the bleached boardwalk, the hundred-year-old trees casting much-needed shade, and even the patch of blue-tinted glass block on the second-storey patio over there, summer might last a little longer.

If only.

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