The Ugly City: or, why I love the sound of the dump truck —

When you walk around in an urban area, you are likely to find some things that are, seemingly, not so pleasant.  For instance, most cities are somewhat dirty.  The beautifully kept storefronts – home to expensive clothing – seem almost out of place

against a backdrop 
of cigarette-butts 
and (almost) empty beer bottles —

 

Early in the morning, vendors shout as they ready their goods for sale; the smell of fresh-baked bread wafts out propped open back doors; plastic-covered newspapers plop down in their usual spots as if an alarm to open for business.

One of my favorite sounds is 

the heavy, 

industrial song

of the garbage truck — 

Inherently, there is nothing beautiful about garbage.  It’s smelly, it’s sticky – it’s disgusting.  However, there is just something about that Sound – something about that screeching followed by a release of compressed air that just takes first chair in the orchestra of the City.

During winter months, the brisk air invites you to explore the many nooks and crannies that every City holds secret, clenched tightly to its Soul.  Even though this place might be your home, there are always new and exciting things to discover; there is always somewhere new to explore.

At night, the icicle light strands that frame the outdoor areas of Italian restaurants twinkle and dance against the dark of the night sky.  A multitude of voices drift, alight upon the breeze that makes its way between the mortar and concrete; you are tantalized by the many conversations you hear.

Songs of love and lust,

hate and violence,

innovation and discovery –

even the weird and macabre –

all draw you in…

But I digress… this was not supposed to be a discussion of the beauty of the City, but, rather, the beauty in that which is Ugly.

Anyone who has ever been to a City has seen the scaffolding, hastily erected wooden

Door to everything and nothing --

Door to everything and nothing —

walls, and carelessly draped caution tape that marks the possibility of something New.  Now – and bear with me on this – I would like to express why this seemingly irrelevant occurrence means just so much to me.

Something was there, and now it is not.  This industrial decoration, plopped on the City sort of like an ornament at Christmas time, marks the End.  Of something.  But in marking an end, it also expresses a Beginning.  What was there is now finished, and what will be there has yet to start.

In stating Nothing, this mess of industrial materials also says Everything.  While it may not state a specific Future, it alludes much to a Past.  Though it is also meaningless, it is so meaningful.

It is this contradiction that I find so alluring.  I took this picture of a door in my City.  There is nothing behind this door.  But, to me, that means that everything is behind this door.  I see possibility in emptiness.

Surely what is empty

is also full–

Industrially minimal in appearance, this insignificant door, akin to that of Alice, could literally open the door to Everything.  Alternatively, it could open the door to absolutely Nothing.  Will you take the red pill or the blue pill?

But, most of all, the door is There.  

The door Exists.

And that is enough to imply Everything and Nothing–

xLoJu

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