So I’ve already shared my first view of the piano that remained behind at a church quietly moldering away in a little neighborhood in Cleveland. Tabula Rasa gave a more comprehensive view in a later post and that got my competitive spirit going. So I went back into my files to see if I could produce something worthwhile to put him back in his place.
I will leave it to you all to decide if I have achieved my goal.
Pianos. They are everywhere we go. Too big and heavy to move, these instruments are usually left behind in schools, theaters, and, as is in this case, churches. They may be an enduring urbex trope, but one which I don’t see myself tiring of anytime soon. This from Cleveland last month.
You knew eventually we’d get around to the piano we found. Because there is always a piano.
…being what can be had with a stage, an open skylight, and an adequately collapsed upright piano.
Though we may travel far afield geographically and thematically, it is never long before this city draws us back in. This shot from a recent excursion highlights familiar themes: abandoned schools and colossal amounts of waste. One never has to look too far for the obligatory forsaken piano.
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.
The piano lessons I was forced to take as a child yielded nothing but an appreciation of seeing the instrument ruined. As one of the schools we explored recently was for the performing arts, I was heartened to get my fill of the wretched beasts wrecked.
This Sunday last we decided that we would go poke around the old Palace Theater.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this sitting in the pit that was once the stage.
For 40 years this piano has sat here. Forgotten.