In the 1970’s, I left the suburbs for a while, to live close to the inner-city hospital where I worked. No more green hills or tall trees in the park for me. I missed them. Far away, in a gap between tall buildings, stood a distant hill. A sliver of green to keep me connected to the living land beneath me. This particular hill, as it happens, was used by the ancestors as a beacon of light to relay important news across the land. Therefore I also felt connected to the ground via time.
One night, I utilised a torrential downpour to partake of a free shower on the roof. Armed with a towel, and a bar of soap, I learned just how heavily polluted the city rain was. It took days to scrape the tarry filth off of me.
My ordnance survey map suggested that my flat was built over a ley-line. It must have been charmed, because there was an amateur repair job visible on the ceiling where a German bomb had fallen through; and luckily didn’t explode. I knew the lady who slept in the room the night it happened. Brave folk. How inspiring, the courage of our forebears in that war, and yet, how very sad, the scars that were seared into their souls, and which our generation inherited, and is still striving to process.
So, on a night when it wasn’t raining, I took one of the above photographs through a window, and the other from the roof, using my old Zenith SLR, and good old Kodachrome ASA/ISO 25, f-stop forgotten, but probably a 30 second exposure. Please excuse my archaic camera-speak. When I showed the original slides to a favoured uncle, he suggested that they convey a sense of loneliness, yet somehow, contentment; and I felt understood.
This is an amusing memory of mine, one frozen night in February 1980, a disgruntled businessman, sacked from one of the offices I lived above, set fire to the building. I spent the morning standing in the frozen street, wearing only a dressing gown and slippers, a budgie cage in one hand, and a terrified dog in the other, while coughing from smoke inhalation, and responding with facts to the pointed and leading questions of a racially* aggressive CID officer. The house was saved, the perpetrator caught, and my flat stank. After that, I returned to the suburbs.
Although the old building that contained my flat was pleasant and ornate, it was demolished, and replaced with something big, commercial, expensive, and ugly. Another great day for the greedy ones I dare say. Oh, and just to rub salt into the public wounds, three local hospitals were sold off to commerce too.
At least nowadays we understand how wickedness operates in society.
Amras has been beset with many health issues of late, the cold season is particularly difficult, and we have received strong negative greetings from one who would wish us sorrow. The blind may be leading the blind, but how very sad it truly feels to watch our brothers and sisters lashing out from darkness. Forgiveness is a given made in advance, it is only ourselves with whom we need struggle when such a storm passes on by. Sometimes with silence is the most loving way to reply.
When I started writing this post, moments ago, the wintery sunshine filled my room. Now, suddenly day has become night, wind become rain, then sleet became snow. And so now it’s time to shut the curtains, until tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this read. Thank you for reading my posts, and for writing yours for me to read.
If I am unable to post again before the holy solstice, have a blessed time, and enjoy the cosmic performance. Namaste from Amras Arcamenel.
*It was neither popular nor profitable to be an Irishman around these parts back then.
Photography ©Francis Moloney.