Sunday, January 18, 2009

Forgive us our trespasses

Ruins are my downfall. If it’s uninhabited, falling down or past its use, then I want to poke around and investigate. Old crumbling buildings, industrial complexes that have made nothing in years, schools long void of children’s voices, cabins in the woods with overgrown or nonexistent pathways to their doors, rusting rail yards, forgotten roads leading to nowhere, bridges that cross only memories of water…. These fire my imagination like nothing else.

Unfortunately, in order to preserve these treasures before they turn to dust, trespass is usually required. In my travels I obey the conservation edict, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time,” but where I go seems more dictated by a lesser known verse that Woody Guthrie wrote to his iconic “This Land Is Your Land.” One of the verses you didn’t learn in school goes:
“As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!”

For me there is no moral dilemma. It’s do unto others. If I came home from work and someone was in my garden taking pictures of my irises, I would greet them, yes, question them, and as long as they were not taking anything but pictures, I’d more than likely offer them a cup of tea and sit down and talk gardening or photography with them for a while. And I’d feel honored that they found my garden inspirational! However, there is a difference between legality and morality. Someday I’m sure I’ll be run off, if not hauled in, for finding artistic inspiration in the “wrong” place. Until then, beauty is where you find it. Click here to see today’s adventure.

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