An hour before curtain, I watched the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "Green Show" so named because it takes place "on the green" in front of the world-reknowned OSF Ampitheater. Beside the delightful artists who present, it's a fun place to hang out - catch up with locals, meet tourists, watch young children frolic with wild abandon, and old men struggle to get up after an hour on the lawn while their old women laugh at their old men and they themselves, teeter and totter to regain balance. The entire rim of the platform and the greens is lined with enthusiastic, hand-clapping people.
My town is idyllic - something you read about in novels. The buildings charming, including the many Victorian bed and breakfast's, the restaurants plentiful. and their fare superb. Tiny little shoppes dot the downtown and the Plaza. No one who has visited our famous Lithia Park comes away disappointed. At every turn, something is worthy of an "ooh or an ahh" - a bench to plop down upon, landscapes and architecture to admire, a fragrance to enjoy.
As I walked back to my car, shooting eye candy like a tourist, I was drawn to a tattered and worn building. Paint peeled off the siding, cobwebs had formed around the windows and the sides of the building. A stairway to nowhere stood oddly by one side while a chipped concrete wall snuggled against the other.
I like shooting textures and color and this building - in deep need of repair - had both. I walked over to take a peek at what the camera might like. As I neared the building I noticed behind the two windows, racks of keys, locks, bolts, and knobs. A dusty whiskey box rested in the corner. Except for the setting sun bouncing off the glass, the room was dark inside. As I peered closer, a bulb hung by a string. Next to the soft yellow light a man shuffled.
"This is an actual business?" I thought to myself.
There was no sinage on the building. Perhaps they were wholesalers. Maybe this is even someone's home - it is, after all, a residential-business area.
I didn't want to seem too interested and have the shopkeeper peer back through the dirty window and give me a scare, so I lined up my shot and walked up the hill. Still, I wondered what memories this old, unkept building held. And keys... there were tons of keys.
Aren't keys supposed to unlock things? Why hadn't the shops owner unlocked his key to success... why hadn't he taken responsibility for maintaining his property? Of the two questions, maybe he had found success. His definition might be different than mine. Not everything that looks good on the outside is necessarily good on the inside, and not everything that looks awful on the outside is devoid of treasures on the inside.
When I got home, I uploaded my shots. Shooting with a little point and shoot camera's limitations (even with the "behind glass" setting), meant that I'd have to spend a few minutes adjusting some things in Photoshop. That's okay. It's always fun to manipulate your findings - make them more interesting... better... more artsy.
As I was playing around with the exposure, I thought again about what memories were stored up in that building and remembered one of my favorite authors, Corrie ten Boom. A victim of the Holocaust, Miss ten Boom once said, "memories are the key not to the past, but to the future."
"What." I pondered, "had this building seeded into it's future? What legacy would define it? Who was the little man inside? Did he have friends? Was his business prospering? Was he healthy. Did he have needs? Were they being met? Did he drink whiskey?"
The questions would not stop rolling through my mind.
I decided that his keys weren't so much about what they locked, but what they unlocked. My key was in knowing how to ask the right questions.
© Silent Mornings