Monday, August 8, 2011

Engines of Mordor

The engines of Mordor are at our gates. It was really hard to be at our house today. By the end of the day, the lot in the picture below is barren of house and trees.

We woke to the noises of destruction. I ran from bed to the window and saw a large yellow machine taking a giant bite out of a house across the parking lot from us. This particular house is one whose demolition I have been dreading. It was built in 1900, the same year as our house. It has been empty for a few years, but the windows and doors were mostly original and intact, not boarded up. It had wood floors, lovely woodwork. It was a nice, plain, old house. Bank-owned but not listed for sale, it apparently cost less to demolish than to repair.

I asked the men who were tearing it down if we could have a few windows and doors, since our house is still missing some of them. They declined. The house was too full of fumes from the SWAT team training exercises done there last week for them to be inside the house. The operator of the wrecking machine also told me that the wood could not be reclaimed or reused in any way because he would pulverize it. The entire thing was trashed, and they tore down the lot's large trees.Walking away from this disappointing encounter, I saw trucks pulling up to the bungalow across the street from us. This nice little house has been hard used as a rental, although it was drastically rehabilitated less than two years ago. The trash-out team of young men smashed every piece of furniture that had been left in the house by its previous occupants, and piled large trucks, all bound for the trash, full of things of every description. One said, "We'll take out all the trash, and then they'll tear it down. I don't *&%#ing care." He seemed to think the house being full of other people's abandoned things merited its demolition.

When I saw them carrying out a large oval mirror framed with carved wood, Paul stopped me from running out to ask for it. He knows I wouldn't know when to stop. They threw it on the pile and efficiently crushed it underfoot. (Mary snagged some fishing tackle and equipment. Paul saw some young neighbors of ours covertly making off with stacks of board games. More power to the scavengers!)

All day long we were literally surrounded by the sounds of destruction. Smashing, shattering, tearing, crushing.

We also got the sad news that a pile of construction materials were stolen from the yard of our new neighbors who are trying to breathe new life into another neglected property.

I ask for your prayers for new life here. I pray for the redemption and rebirth of these properties. For a renaissance of truth and beauty in this corner of the world. For us to recognize our history and learn from it. For families and neighbors to come together and protect, salvage, rebuilt, replant.How does the destruction of an old house, even a good old house, compare to greater evils? Senseless destruction of any kind is sad and wasteful, irresponsible. It is a little picture of a bad thing. Today, here, it was a noisy picture of a bad thing.
The above photo of Paul and some neighbors was taken by a neighbor kid we really care about. He used to live in one of the houses I was talking about today. I hope we will see him again.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

pretty, happy, funny, real

Capturing the context of Contentment in everyday life:
Pretty. Jess and WillemMoses. Pretty isn't really enough. Golden! Glorious!
Happy. We made these little animals, a dragon and a bunny, with modelling wax boughten from the late toy shop, Wonderment. They were sweet and were cherished and played with for a brief morning before being smashed back into balls of wax.
Funny. William Moses' little head bobbles on his neck, his eyes are wide and focused. His grin without restraint. He practices holding his weight on his two sturdy little feet. He practices his Jazz Hands. (The photo here only captures the smiling eyes.)
Real. The "foreclosure crisis" is quite tangible on our block, where 16 out of 24 homes have been foreclosed upon. This is one is actually on the upswing. The property is being rehabbed by a family who will be living there, just two doors down from us! They took this little doomed house down by hand. It had only one narrow window on its whole eastern face.
We do not begrudge them this demolition, the first promising one we have seen, and are so thankful for their presence. Already, this family adding to the love and life and enthusiasm of this corner of Frogtown. Also, they have two young kids who look like they'll be great playmates!
Look at the grandeur of those trees!

Pretty, happy, funny, real is a weekly link thing from Like Mother, Like Daughter. That blog is one of my lifelines.
Too often, my operating goal is to be happy all the time. Contentment, however, means the acceptance of every circumstance and season and weather and mood, including the difficult and unhappy ones: working, creating, crying, raging, comforting, resting, enjoying, waiting.
Contentment comes from clinging to the one constant through all changes; the love from which none of those things can separate me.
Making the best of things, and celebrating the good and beautiful doesn't hurt either!

round button chicken