Labryinth of Architecture

May 11, 2012
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The picture snaps. The digital image appearing on the screen reminds the unnamed photographer of a celebrity caught without makeup. Of course, this was inevitable. The architecture serves its purpose: providing walls, and eliminating light sources. Nonetheless, the flash is startling. It is neither warm nor inviting. It is a wide space underneath the creaking stairs leading to the basement. But to the mind of a child—a particular child whom I am familiar with—it was not a staircase, but an unmanned source of potential.
Where others may have seen decrepit cement floors, spider webs and smelled the bleak musty odor of an unfinished basement, I enjoyed the closeness of the cramped walls. I had a cabin, and I could tell you about the cedar pine logs stacked upon one another, or the sap that seeped in their cracks, or the summertimes, which gave way to feelings of infinity. I could relay stories of days at the lake, the sun soaking into my skin and crisping it just right or the peaceful humming of a motor on a slow boat in the quiet of a no wake. But where is the joy in reliving these memories? Where is the satisfaction of ownership, knowing the only participation you had in these memories was coincidentally being there when the sun was shining ever so brightly off the diamond lake?
I instead prefer to ponder the slow thoughts—like drips of a deep red wine—of a fort under the stairs, where no amount of physics could explain the expanse of my travels. Under the shelter of the dusty air, and the protection of cement blocks damp with the moisture of a cooled basement, I could become the architect and create cathedrals, or the fugitive sleeping in his fox holes. The possibilities were endless under the blankets cover.
I loved the space under the stairs. It was the movies I wasn’t allowed to watch and the books I didn’t understand. It was the friends I wished I’d had and the loneliness I know felt. It was my first building and my third home. T’was the low ceiling and rough carpeted squares that I remember as my favorite place. Can you see all this in my picture? Have I given you what it is you were looking for, a story of a place, within a place? The labyrinth unveiled, take a peek inside the lens.

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