Response Crafting

buildings | feathers

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The buildings of small towns seem, to me, like feathers stuck in a barbedwire fence.

Driving on road trips from Chicago to our respective childhood homes, J and I often pass through small towns. Very often, these small towns have one or two buildings originally erected, years before, to meet a specific purpose andhave, since then, spent decades in slow deterioration; the paint blisteringaway to infinite tones of gray.

Seeing them inspires me to reflect on their possible story. I wonder how they got there, and I wonder how long they will hang on like that, clinging to the earth. There’s no apparent ecosystem of infrastructure to validate or support their presence. They merely are, with little reason to be; as such, it seems that they could cease to exist altogether one day and nobody would be the wiser.

Buildings in cities, in contrast, are the feathers of a bird. One does not have to wonder about their existence; for the most part, their story is immediately apparent. One does not have to agonize over or speculate on building’s longevity, either; should it ever cease to exist in the space where it now is, another will quickly take its place.

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