The Lockdown Rambles #2
Buildings & Structures
While on rambles to explore the nearby countryside throughout lockdown, the further I ventured, the more places previously unknown revealed themselves. These discoveries captured my attention; and with that, my imagination.
Later, I started looking at the images that I took from a different perspective, in a different light. The object of the eye might be a tree, a structure or a bridge, but the edited photos – or not – exposed an alternative perception of what the pictures had captured. It inspired something within me.
“If there is one thing the history of evolution has taught us it’s that life will not be contained. Life breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously . . . I’m simply saying that life, uh . . . finds a way”– Dr Ian Malcom, Jurassic Park
The second in a new short series, this one is on buildings and structures.
Its title: Reflections in a Broken Window.
“If you were standing in the same place at a different time, you might have seen Henry the Eighth going out to sport; you might have seen Winston Churchill address the nation; you might have seen people suffer with the plague. But you can also stand in the same place, with no one around you, and imagine that you’re the only person to have ever looked upon where your gaze lies. No matter where you are or who you are, no matter what timeline of years you live from and to, the sun has lit upon it all”– The Sight of her at Dawn
Seemingly derelict buildings never fail to fascinate me. To imagine who turned up to work there each day; what their daily life might have been like. That these places were all new, well used, and then fallen into disrepair. Slowly, nature creeps back, dormant for all those years, reclaiming the land and obscuring the history of what once was. And then you might see a billycan on a spent fire, or a pallet bed on the floor . . . Therein is the start of a new story.
“We borrow from nature the space upon which we build”Tadao Ando
I shall meet you there, at the place where no one goes. What we do when we are hidden from the world, perhaps they will never know. Should we ever tell them, it is for us only to choose. Rotten walls camouflaged by undergrowth and us are the only ones that know the truth.
One of the prettiest structures that I happened upon is this old boathouse. The door, lock perished, had been eased open. So it was clearly an invitation to venture inside. The figure above the door – perhaps Achelous, god of fresh water? – seemed happy enough. Either way, I stayed a while.
A fair number of woodsmen’s yards have been stumbled (read: trespassed) upon. There is always something quite sinister about them, deep into the forests – which is probably inspired by bad Netflix movies. Still, anything that encourages the imagination to conjure ideas is what exploring is all about.
I would happily use this last one as my office . . . if I could ever find it again.
The Forest is dark, dearie, The Forest is dark;
The moment you think that you’re lost in the woods, then you are.
Do not lose your way, dearie, Do not lose your way;– Emory R. Frie, author of The Enchanted Forest
The monsters are lurking not far from the path should you stray.
Slightly more modern buildings and structures too can hold a ramshackle charm, recreating that same sense of what do they do in there? Never is anyone around, and often these isolated places are surrounded by overgrown countryside, creeping closer with each season, increasingly worn by the elements. Even if these structures once intruded upon nature’s land, soon it is reversed, making true the above quote by Tadao Ando.
Almost every one of these buildings and structures offers scant defence from all weathers, should they ever have. And if those that inhabited or worked from them once managed the natural world around them, each time it has proved futile, whether by neglect, abandonment, or to corrosion of the passing years.
If struggling to find inspiration for a story, or to give life to a character’s past, the places that are found in the countryside, even right outside a town, are like heritage stamps, daring the imagination to bring back to life that which might be better left undisturbed.
Reflections in a broken window
Come, won’t you peek inside?
The past, written upon my walls
Like shadows, cannot be untied
The Lockdown Rambles #1