Friday, August 21, 2009


A few days ago I spent the morning with my daughter Bethan doing errands. She's a medical transcriptionist and makes a daily visit to Spartanburg Regional Hospital to deliver her work and pick up more. I stayed in the car while she took care of business, and she had parked directly across from a fenced in demolition site. I was fascinated to observe the slow waltz of the two pieces of heavy equipment as they synchronized their swinging jaws. I was mesmerized by the finesse of the operators and their ability to grasp a single piece of wood or metal with the huge appendage on their machine. After gripping and dropping a whole mouthful of waste, the other could go back into a large pile and select one little crushed window screen.

But as usual with me, I began to think about the underlying story. I wondered what that half demolished building had once been. I imagined the excitement of the owner who had built those brick walls and filled the rooms with personal taste.

As I watched the metal fingers of the machine take away a door and then a wall board, I thought about the house being like a person. Born, then growing into an adult and aging. All the strata of psyche and soul that create the rooms of ourselves we carry through life. A sudden wave of empathy hit me as the insides of this former home were exposed, layer after layer. But it seemed to me as though the operators of those dismantling machines had a respect for the process they were a part of. That gave me comfort.

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