November 30th, 2010

Interesting words

"if man, that angel of bright consciousness, that wingless mind and brief epitome of God's forgetfulness, will be going forth into the treacherous envelope of sunshine -- why, poor fool, does he expect to return at evening, or to return the same?"
Conrad Aiken

158 - Demolition

As I sit here I can feel the ground vibrate and hear the sound of the jaws of heavy equipment tearing into the Botts' house across the street. The front of the house is gone, and the roof is being crunched into pieces as I type. A year ago the man of the house died and the woman moved away this summer, so these long-time neighbors are gone. And the house, which was a nice two bedroom bungalow is going to be gone by mid-afternoon.

When we moved here in 1974 the Botts were the only relatively young family on the block, being about ten years older than we were. This was a working class Democratic neighborhood, lived in by older couples whose children were gone or nearly so. We brought in the first babies/toddlers in many years. One by one the pairs along the street died away until only the Botts and us survived from the old neighborhood. Just sitting still was all we had to do to outlive everyone, though there is now a huge line up of younger couples whose presence has pushed us up to senior citizen status. Like Social Security and retirement, the signs of time passing are not avoidable.

Anna and Ernie Tullis are gone. And Bob and Eunice O'Neil. John and Ina Snyder, Ruth and James Dixon, Dutch and Evelyn Nebenfuhr. E. B Lawrence. Nancy moved out a couple of months ago. The Greek. They are all gone, most to the cemetery.

Every time that machine takes another bite out of the Botts' house, I can hear time moving along in the only direction it ever takes.