22 May 2011

beauty in everything

I carry a fortune in my wallet that says something that is very special and very important to me. It reads:

"You find beauty in ordinary things. Do not lose this ability."

In Cuba, I found this fortune especially prevailing in everything I experienced. My postcards back home wrote of the strange beauty I found in the decay - and the juxtaposition of crumble and ruin with the brightly painted shades of buildings. Initially, I felt an overall sense of neglect towards the architecture and landscape - but neglect was then transformed into a deep love for a place that has very limited resources and many strict rules regarding provisions. That said, I thought about the resourcefulness, resilience, ingenuity, and creativity of the people inhabiting this space - and was absolutely inspired by how people not only make-do, but in some cases, thrive on their craftiness and elbow-grease. The idea of seeing a 14-foot ceiling as the potential for a room with a loft above it is common in a place where space is at a premium and there's no such thing as real estate.

I left this country feeling as though objects and materials have so many uses - and that we waste and squander so much in our every day lives. I like to think that I can see the multi-purpose in anything, but sometimes I lose sight of that in favor of convenience. Additionally, I walked away from this experience feeling that there's nothing quite like a fresh coat of paint, and to quote the lovely James St. James, "It doesn't matter what you look like! I mean if you have a hunchback, just throw a little glitter on it, honey, and go out dancing!" Because what is life really? A series of messes, of piles, of things that are crumbling - begging to be cared for and attended to with love and patience.

a tip: a building is in poor condition when a tree is growing out of the walls or ceiling.
in search of materials for their own entrepreneurial construction and renovation projects, many people turn to abandoned buildings, deconstructing them brick by brick for their own purposes. the sign on this building declared that this building was a historic site and that poaching materials from it was illegal.

1 comment :

  1. Reading this post was inspiring in itself so I cannot imagine what it would've been like to see it with my own eyes. I love how you learned to appreciate the beauty in the decay and I appreciate the ongoing metaphor. A fresh coat of paint, a sunny day, a new pair of shoes, it works wonders for the spirit.