• SpiderMeka

Old Space, New Adventures

Had a look at the forecast today and it looks like March is going out like a lamb. I confess, I'm not sad about that AT ALL. I've already started saving new summer cocktail recipes to my Pinterest page. My only regret is that one more winter has passed and elements still haven't aligned so that I produce a goth/black fashion/beauty photoshoot in the snow. Oh, well. Always have something to look forward to, right? I do plan on doing this camera thing for a while…

Before we say goodbye to the cold weather, I'm sharing a little adventure I went on during one of this season's snowstorms. Nothing helps get one out of the doldrums like finding something new to do in an old environment.

The invitation to go on this excursion came from one Kristina Sutton, a fellow ex-Harponian. She lives 'round abouts the neighborhood I grew up in. When I mentioned I like to go scouting for abandoned buildings and rough urban sites as possible photoshoot backdrops, being of a visual arts mind herself, Kristina suggested I start from "home"… and volunteered to come with me.

The thought gave me pause – I always appreciate when someone unwittingly offers me a unique way of seeing things. Opening my eyes to look at what I considered maybe uninspiring or too familiar allowed me to recognize a certain subtle beauty and somber respect for what was happening in the place I thought I'd outgrown.

Kristina drove. Just before we set off in her gigantic all-wheel drive black Ford, which she endearingly called, Horse, a blizzard began. We were in the southern suburbs of Chicago, on slippery-snowy pot-holey backroads, scouring the most industrial and forgotten parts of my childhood surroundings, and Horse made the travel feel like a safe little sleigh ride. Pun intended.

I would recognize a retail store or restaurant and be surprised that it was still in business. I'd recount a story that happened on a particular street, then Kristina would turn down a different road that of course was always there, but in 30 years, I'd never had a reason to explore. I was intrigued. And Kristina's got guts. While I worried about trespassing, she'd already parted branches and found places in fences to slip right through and go INTO buildings. No fear. I don't know what that's like.

Our trip happened well before the daylight savings change (another concept I'll be happy to see go away one day), so the sky darkened with both the setting sun and the blizzard before we could sink our wandering teeth into more desolate spaces… We had some fun, though… enough so I look forward to doing it again. The falling snow had a way of creating a more enchanting atmosphere for traipsing through broken glass and moldy floorboards.

All in all, these photos may serve no further than as a reminder to shift perspective. Thanks, Kristina and mighty Horse, for being up for random art-fulfilling blizzard excursions while most people were at home with warm blankets and Netflix.

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