Every now and then, I feel about as old and worn out as this looks:


(Today is one of those days, but I won’t go into the details right now. As Michael Ende wrote in The Neverending Story, “that is another story and shall be told another time.”)

Today I’d like to share some ruins.

In my town, there’s a beautiful old factory dating back to the 1840s. Engines, turbines, boilers, and other machinery were manufactured at the site over the years, until it closed in the 1970s. In the 1990s, the building complex began a new existence as an outlet mall. Much of it was renovated, though there are still a few crumbling bits and pieces.

The detail of the peeling paint in the photo above is located on the support beam in the far left of this photo:


Someone, years ago, held the paintbrush that glided over this wooden beam. Someone used their hands to build that stone wall. These were real human beings. They had lain down to sleep at night and woken up in the morning. They had dreams and fears and joys and hardships. They had favourite foods, and favourite seasons, and favourite pastimes. They knew how to ride a horse, or swing an axe, or hum a lullaby to their children. They’d fallen in love (or they’d never fallen in love). I always wonder about the people – and the stories – behind our enduring artifacts.

Word on the street is that during the next couple of years, this complex will undergo a major redevelopment into a trendy shopping/tech/entertainment district. It’ll be lovely, I’m sure, and certainly an economic boost for the city. I think they plan to keep most of the bones of the historic buildings, but some will have to give way for the modern new design.

When it happens, and these walls have been bulldozed and the peeling paint is gone, what will be left to remind me – or my kids, or my kids’ kids – of that painter or that stonemason?

Enough of my pondering… off to bed now so that I don’t wake up as old and worn out tomorrow.


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