Sunday, 12 March 2017

Spirit of place, spirit of age

Lent 2017, Day 12

Time makes its mark on places; the natural pace of erosion, trees topple in high winds, or get struck by lightning; floods, changing watercourses alter the landscape - but man has accelerated the pace of change in the environment. But how have man-made changes affected the spirit of place - the way our aesthetic sensibilities are touched by where we are?

Two photographs, taken at exactly the same spot (ul. Nawłocka, with ul. Trombity perpendicular to it), exactly ten orbits of the earth around the sun. As Jeziorki becomes more civilised, so its klimat changes, the way my consciousness savours it, changes.

Changes... Nawłocka was partially paved in August 2010, with speed bumps as an integral part of the it. The birch in the foreground was cut down, and the verge between field and road narrower, as the farmer tills more of the land. And the house has been built on plot prepared in the autumn of 2007 on the corner of Trombity and ul. Dumki. Aesthetically, that sense of 1950s America that I once used to feel strongly around here (see posts here and here) has evaporated. An ephemeral connection with another time, another place that's gone with progress.

Doubtless the next ten years (may they be peaceful) will bring more change, more development, more progress, and those fleeting moments of anomalous familiarity, congruent flashbacks to another consciousness, will get rarer.

Since childhood I have always been sensitive to spirit of place, preferring this route over that route for purely aesthetic reasons, this vista to that vista, this town to that town, and mourned the passing of buildings that I liked (the Great West Road's Golden Mile was never the same after Victor Matthews bulldozed the Firestone building one bank holiday weekend). Even the interiors of majestic buildings change their atmosphere; South Kensington's Science Museum today still has some galleries that remind me of my childhood, but many of the exhibits in wooden cabinets have been replaced by interactive displays in primary colours.

Here we are, conscious beings moving over the face of Planet Earth, absorbing our surroundings, we're a temporary part of where we live - a place that itself is becoming increasingly evanescent.
Time to wonder about those atoms vibrating about all over.

This time last year:
The crux of the matter

This time three years ago:
10,000 steps is a lot for one day

This time four years ago:
Bary mleczne - Warsaw's cheap eateries

This time five years ago:
Nikkor 45mm f2.8 pancake lens reviewed

This time six years ago:
Old Town, another prospect

This time seven years ago:
W-wa Śródmieście - commuters' staging post

This time eight years ago:
Filthy ul. Poloneza
[Now re-named ul. Kujawiaka]

This time nine years ago:
A sight that heralds the coming of spring

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