In the quiet of an autumn rain that can hardly be heard pattering down on the remainder of the old church’s roof I stand amazed at the beauty of a human’s handicraft, and saddened by the evidence of destruction brought by other humans either by neglect, willful and petty malice, or greed.
The collapsed reredos, buried behind the rubble of a fallen section of ceiling, is inscribed with German translations of scripture (John 14:16) and provides me with bittersweet schadenfreude and I consider my past devotions to the god of the Bible in the light my of now godless existence.
While others may despair that such a lovely church has fallen to such a depth of neglect and disrepair I only sorrow that something so beautiful, the evidence of the creativity and ingenuity of humankind, is allowed to rot away into obscurity.
The handiwork of scrappers is everywhere, though not as bad as I’ve seen in other places. Part of me finds some joy that a remnant of beauty may remain, lost to obscurity, in the years to come and long after this building has succumbed to the inevitable forces of nature, time and physics. Yet even given that I would rather to see it remain together, complete, if not intact. Still, as the carrion eaters have their place in nature, so too do the scrappers have their place in the decay of man’s creations.
Sound is muted here, not dulled nor harshened as other places may be; it must be all the rot in the wood. It is a pleasant feeling to me, and I wonder what sound the person who threw the brick or stone through the glass heard. Was it a crash? A thud? Did it make them happy for a brief moment to release their frustrations in one hard swung weight? I know all too well the joy of breaking glass deliberately and freely confess to having destroyed a window or two sometime in my past. But why here? I pardon the damages to the elaborate stained glass as youthful exuberance but still resent the hastening of destruction for no purpose other than a lack of imagination. There are other windows that no one will mourn the loss of, turn your frustrations onto them, please.
Bemused, I regard the obligatory abandoned piano. It woefully returns my gaze, a reminder that others see what I see, and rather than destroy or deface they choose to give a part of themselves and make even this forlorn place a little brighter.