4.24.2006

No clever title today

Since I was a child, I explored the wild of my surroundings. I've preferred to be in places that were alive with things that grew, and things that flew, and things that walked and things that ran. I've camped in national forests, hiked miles down deserted stretches of shoreline, navigated rapids, drank straight from mountain springs, and come so close to an elk I could've petted it had I had the nerve. But these things were not just alive with living things, but with the feeling of one spirit that grows from things that are allowed to be in the state of their own being.

I have lived in Richmond for years and what draws me to this city, what makes me feel at home, is that same spirit. There is this feeling here that all things, though different, coexist in this cacophonic disorder that is reminiscent of those wild experiences. All the things that make us frustrated about our city, are all the things that I love about it: washboarded and pot-holed streets, crumbling brick structures, oak trees cracking the sidewalks, birds, confused by the lights, calling at all hours of the night. The general unkempt attitude of the city, that despite all of the order and cleanliness we attempt, the chaos and disorder, that wild cacophony, is still creeping and seeping into our city and our subconscious, making me feel at home.

That brings me to the West End. I've discovered why I feel lost here. There's too much attempt at order. All the trees and shrubs are well groomed. The buildings are square and plastic (if you get close enough, they smell like new GI Joes). There's no sense of life as it lives its life. Every other Saturday brown men with machines define the boundaries of each life here. That's why I was so excited to see ducks swimming in the pool this spring, it reminds me that life can exist outside of our landscape timbers and can escape through the cracks in the cement*. Though here those cracks are filled quickly, as if by peering into these cracks one could see through the facade of perfection. I don't like it here, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the knowledge that I'll not be here much longer.

*(Also, ducks crapping in a pool in the West End is just funny to me)

2 Comments:

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