Monday, March 18, 2013

Come Slowly, Eden

The coming of spring, a beautiful old industrial section of Philadelphia, and the revelations of a cautious soul.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.

I asked my photographer friend, Kelly, if she'd be interested in doing a photo essay about springtime in our neighborhood of Fishtown in Philadelphia. I knew she'd taken some photos of nearby Penn Treaty Park for a different project, so it seemed like a good fit. Then she asked, "Do you want, like, nice photos of spring, or do you want the things my eye tends to come across?"

It was a good question. While so much seemingly endless media coverage was spent on the bountiful, blossoming exhibits of the Philadelphia Flower Show and the typical "coming of spring" articles, it occurred to me that it might be, well, sort of corny to do the same. But that wasn't my only hesitation for doing a conventional seasonal post: I've always been apprehensive of spring. Perhaps I am not alone. Is there not a little trepidation about the changing of seasons within us all, something that reveals a curious and vulnerable notion of our humanity?

Winter is a time of when we turn inward, we become cocoon-like and protect ourselves from the external - our homes, our bodies, our souls. It's not easy to instantly open oneself up to spring, and spring is not always the paradise one finds in pictures. Thank goodness for the mayor's annual spring cleanup to help correct that.

What's more though, Fishtown, with its immortalized legacy of a stirring industrial past - be it good or bad - is a land made with deep human emotion. I can look across this historical cityscape and imagine something akin to the great Ghost Dances of the Native American warriors coming up from the graves - but in this case, with the thousands of immigrants who struggled, slaved, fought and died in the factories and mills at a point in time that branded this part of town "the workshop of the world."


Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.


No, it's not always pretty here in this part of Philadelphia, but it's beautiful, nonetheless. There's a difference. The beauty of spring to me is not simply about flowers or sun or warmer weather - it's about a reconciliation of the human condition, about discovery, about opening up, moments of revelation, ritual, history, reverence, about reaching places buried deep within the soul so fertile, so raw, so essential, so hallowed that the ancient streams flow with tears.

It's about springtime in Fishtown, and that is something truly beautiful.


In any case, Kelly took great pics. And yes, some were the nice springtime variety. Some were just plain cool. Check 'em out...


Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.

Photo by Kelly Thompson.



Content on this page is under Creative Commons license (CC-BY-SA). Copy by D.A. DeMers. Photos by Kelly Thompson via Designer in Exile. More of Kelly's work can be found at www.penntreatybykt.wordpress.com and www.kelly-tee.com.


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2 comments:

  1. Wonderful images... I've never liked spring either.

    Anne C.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As Spring approaches in fits and starts this helps a bit in getting in the mood for good....

    ReplyDelete