31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 23 ~ Damage Done

A sense of place(2)Welcome to Day 23 of 31 Days of A Sense of Place.

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Try to Praise the Mutilated World
by Adam Zagajewski

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

What gets to me is the evocative nature of what’s abandoned, damaged, dying, ruined, scarred, mutilated. People and animals, of course, and trees, landscapes, natural communities, habitats, places, homes. Places overgrown, or, on the other hand, empty, devoid, or both. Times when places seem abandoned, shadows among barrenness, unmitigated dispassionate glare of light flattening all contour. The exiles of any sort, the earth’s scars, the wounds. Decay.

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sheep statue, Lourdes shrine, Franciscan Monastery, Kennebunk, ME, Dec 2014
sheep statue, Lourdes shrine, Franciscan Monastery, Kennebunk, ME, Dec 2014
north beach, Jekyll Island, Sept 2014
north beach, Jekyll Island, Sept 2014
Yemassee, SC, Sept. 2008
Yemassee, SC, Sept. 2008
furniture dumped along trail, Otter Creek Trail, Middlebury, Nov. 2013
furniture dumped along trail, Otter Creek Trail, Middlebury, Nov. 2013
machine and hay shed, Jackson Trail, Weybridge VT, Nov. 2013
machine and hay shed, Jackson Trail, Weybridge VT, Nov. 2013
debris on bridge after Hurricane Irene, White River Junction, VT, 10 Sept 2011
debris on bridge after Hurricane Irene, White River Junction, VT, Sept 2011
grill's final resting spot, Quechee Dam, VT, Sept. 2010
grill’s final resting spot, Quechee Dam, VT, Sept. 2010
white plastic chair in woods, Manchester, VT, Oct 2010
white plastic chair in woods, Manchester, VT, Oct 2010
Lenox, MA, May 2010
Lenox, MA, May 2010
Lenox, MA, May 2010
Lenox, MA, May 2010
marble works roof and sky, Middlebury, VT, Nov. 2010
marble works roof and sky, Middlebury, VT, Nov. 2010
end of world? ferry landing, Lake Champlain (VT to NY), Nov. 2010
end of world? ferry landing, Lake Champlain (VT to NY), Nov. 2010
Naumkeag Asian Garden, Stockbridge, MA, May 2010
Naumkeag Asian Garden, Stockbridge, MA, May 2010
balcony, brick, bramble, Savannah, GA, Dec 2013
balcony, brick, bramble, Savannah, GA, Dec 2013
RR track switch, Andover, NH, Sept. 2015
RR track switch, Andover, NH, Sept. 2015
bridge on Northern Rail Trail (with spider), Sept 2015
bridge on Northern Rail Trail (with spider), Sept 2015
PaulMonroElementarySchoolplaygroundLynchburgVAmid1970s
elementary school playground, Virginia, 1970s
electrical box at old amphitheatre, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2005
electrical box at old amphitheatre, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2005
old battlements, Cape Henlopen, near Rehoboth, DE, Aug 2013
old battlements, Cape Henlopen, near Rehoboth, DE, Aug 2013
Old Fort Jackson, Savannah, GA, Dec. 2010
Old Fort Jackson, Savannah, GA, Dec. 2010
remains of old windmill, Knights Hill Nature Park, NH, May 2014
remains of old windmill, Knights Hill Nature Park, NH, May 2014
old stove in woods, Quechee, VT, Oct 2015
old stove in woods, Quechee, VT, Oct 2015
The Fells, Newbury, NH, June 2015
The Fells, Newbury, NH, June 2015
Beaufort SC Welcome Center (old armory), June 2014
Beaufort SC Welcome Center (old armory), June 2014
railroad tracks, platform, Northern Rail Trail, April 2015
railroad tracks, platform, Northern Rail Trail, NH, April 2015
Longwood Gardens. PA, June 2013
Longwood Gardens. PA, June 2013
bricks at my house, Aug 2015
brick walkway with weeds, NH, Aug 2015
my Maine house, almost empty, Oct 2009
Maine house, almost empty, Oct 2009
empty Main Street, Middlebury VT, Nov. 2013
empty Main Street, Middlebury VT, Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 2013
Wapiti, WY, Aug 1992
Wapiti, WY, Aug 1992
overgrown amphitheatre, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2014
overgrown amphitheatre, Jekyll Island, Sept. 2014

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“Someone walking down the street with absolutely no scars or calluses would look pretty odd. I suspect having a conversation with someone who’d never taken any emotional or mental damage would be even odder. The line between ‘experience’ and ‘damage’ is pretty thin.” — Aliza, from the Open-Source Wish Project via LessWrong

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rotting apples Carter Hill Orchard, Concord, NH, Nov 2012
rotting apples, Carter Hill Orchard, Concord, NH, Nov 2012
rotting log with stain of blue-green cup-fungus (Chlorociboria), Knights Hill Nature Park, NH, May 2014
rotting log with stain of blue-green cup-fungus (Chlorociboria), Knights Hill Nature Park, NH, May 2014
cracked ice and grasses, St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery, Kennebunk, ME, Dec 2014
cracked ice and grasses, St. Anthony Franciscan Monastery, Kennebunk, ME, Dec 2014
pieces of hornet's nest, Webb Forest Trail, NH, Oct 2012
pieces of hornet’s nest, Webb Forest Trail, NH, Oct 2012
split tree, Hildene, Manchester, VT, Oct 2010
split tree, Hildene, Manchester, VT, Oct 2010
Kennedy Park, Lenox, MA, May 2010
cut tree, Kennedy Park, Lenox, MA, May 2010
mytouchtreeVINS13Oct2015
tree, VINS, Quechee VT, Oct 2015
remains of autumn crocus, Bedrock Gardens, Lee, NH, Oct 2015
remains of autumn crocus, Bedrock Gardens, Lee, NH, Oct 2015
Mt. Washburn, Yellowstone National Park, WY, Aug 1992
Mt. Washburn, Yellowstone National Park, WY, Aug 1992
broken branch, Sewalls Falls Trail, Concord, NH, March 2015
broken branch, Sewalls Falls Trail, Concord, NH, March 2015
discarded Christmas trees, Jan 2013
discarded Christmas trees, Jan 2013
discarded pumpkins, West End Farm Trail, Concord, NH, Nov. 2014
discarded pumpkins, West End Farm Trail, Concord, NH, Nov. 2014
cutting of trees on West End Farm Trail, Concord, NH, Oct. 2015
cutting of trees on West End Farm Trail, Concord, NH, Oct. 2015
fallen tree, Fells trail, Newbury, NH, June 2015
fallen tree, Fells trail, Newbury, NH, June 2015
Norway maple damaged by ice, Jan. 2012
Norway maple damaged by ice, Jan. 2012
hosta leaf, Oct 2015
hosta leaf with insect damage, Oct 2015
frost-killed hydrangea, NH, Nov. 2013
frost-killed hydrangea, NH, Nov. 2013

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“The line between ‘experience’ and ‘damage’ is pretty thin.”

Is there any line at all?

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Thanks for checking in. Be sure to see what the other 31 Dayers are writing about.

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a sense of place(1)This project is a bit like Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird, in that I’m writing about a sense of place from vantage points that may not obviously connect with each other. I’m not going to attempt to tie them together. In the end, these 31 days of looking at a sense of place may overlap, contradict, form a whole, or collapse like a flan in a cupboard, as Eddie Izzard would say. That remains to be seen. Thanks for stopping by.

One Comment on “31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Day 23 ~ Damage Done

  1. Pingback: 31 Days of A Sense of Place :: Introduction | A Moveable Garden

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