Thursday, September 07, 2006

Last night I went out for some photography and climbing. Actually "clambering" would be a more appropriate word. I don't know enough about technical climbing so staying off the real buildings felt like a supreme idea. Instead I walked around the area between Downtown and Biltmore.

Everything was wet. The earth, grass, sidewalk, the lots. All of them. It made for a slippery environment. One not suitable for my midnight chicanery. Also, my shoes, the work shoes, the ones I have been wearing six days out of every week for the past year or so have absolutely no tread. I was unprepared. Very un-eagle-scoutish. Very little was interesting on the property of my employers at one in the morning. Things didn't get interesting until I got to the bridge that carries McDowell St. over the train tracks. I stood on it there for a moment trying to asses the possible avenues of my decent. I am not sure how far my position was from the ground but I do know I could say "Sasquatch is furry" before hearing the impact of a dropped pebble.

After a few moments of rational life-evaluating through, something I assume is uncommon in people who want to climb down these bridges, I opted to drive. On the way down I considered what would happen if I had tried to crawl down the bridge and what it would have been like for my family if I had fallen. It was a moment of introspection. I felt awkward riding down.
The bridge's underbelly was made from mud and stones. Shards of glass, excess debris from the nearby junkyard, reflected the orange tungsten light out from the unhealthy soil. Again I thought about being more prepared and not wearing shoes with souls no thicker than my skin. These shoes are a good pare. They are lightweight and matt-black. The rubber is all gone now and the softer foam is all that now protects me from the jaggedness of the landscape. I both adore and loath them because I can always feel what road I'm on. The problem is the shoes don't care what road I'm on.
I climbed the junkyard fence as quietly as fences can be climbed. Some of it's rattling made me nervous. I wasn't sure if this place kept a pack of dogs. After a few minutes of caution the large holes in the fence and general swampiness of the terrain convinced me that K9s wouldn't be able to catch me here nor would they be able to survive.
Scrap-metal Junkyards provide a most potent reminder of how dangerous we as a community can be to the land we habitate. Even the "empty" places have pieces of rusted sheet and bike parts embedded in the earth like splinters.
There are three large piles in front of me. One seemed to be comprised entirely of metal shavings. Like the kind that come from a pencil sharpener, but steel. The other was a assortment of I-beams and vehicle parts. Between those two a dilapidated front-loader was parked and half buried on both sides. The last pile was the one I chose to tackle. It was a large pile of roughly two-hundred refrigerators. They weren't stacked neatly of course. It looked more like they had been dropped from the sky.

The wet morning did me no favors on the way up. Some of the fridges had open doors and they had collected gallons of water. Some others had gaping triangular holes punched in them from where a giant metal claw had lifted them.

It didn't take long to get to the top. From Refrigerator peak I could make out what looked like some kind of post-apocalyptic neighborhood of unoccupied lean-tos and make-shacks. A landscape of gnarled root-like metal and ill trees. I could survey the area from my big white mountain of plastic coated cooling devices.
It was a strange throne. I descended from it. On the way back to the apartment I noticed the Hospital I was born in now has many large plastic flowers decorating one of it's lawns. The display made for eire photographs.

Shortly thereafter I went home and feel asleep in my big red bed.

(more photos here as usual)


Anonymous jack said...

that story is amazing! you should author picturebooks.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Bill In Asheville said...

Peter, great work. I have been a fan of that junkyard for a while and been meaning to explore it.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Max Cooper said...

This is an awesome story. Very good work.

10:00 AM  

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