Well I have arrived in Southern Illinois. The area I was born and raised. Its a place I love to visit, but I could never continue to survive in this sparse distribution of rural space.
Life is funny.
I left here over 6 years ago and generally come back a couple times a year. The amount of change in that time is quite impressive. By stepping out of the box, as one would say, its allowed me to see differences over these years that were taken for granted and unnoticed before. This has made one hell of a perspective on the life of towns, communities, cities, etc…
One such case, Cairo, IL, a nearby, familiar town for me as a kid, looks very different but still it carries the same issues it always had. Cairo is a “missed opportunity,” of sorts. Or rather a “city that could have been.” Perfectly situated on the convergence of two major rivers “Mississippi and Ohio.” Which is the foundation of a city’s heartbeat when formed early on, in the Midwest. And frankly still today. Supply follows the rivers and so do people. Yet after a perfect storm of, let’s just say “bad luck,” Cairo ended up being left behind. As such, there had been a large section of the south side of Cairo that was in a bad state. Decrepit buildings falling into themselves, with no hope in site.
It was always amazing to me that these buildings were left to stand. But at the same time, it was probably more costly to doze the buildings down than the worth of the ground beneath them. So fast forward a few years and my home area is hit with a major flood, an ongoing poverty issue and a wave of arson. All the while, political positioning, ignorance and greed also fed in to this perfect storm. This has left a different looking place than when I was a kid. Thus, the creation of the funny in life. Not always a ha-ha funny, by at times, with the right perspective… yeah it can be ha-ha funny.
Anyway… since I had not returned in many years, this pet project was following a checklist only from memory, rather than current status. This proved unfortunate, as one of the most exciting subjects I had envisioned this series to revolve around…. was gone, completely gone. A two story building which, last I witnessed, had a violently missing front face that opened up to a cross section view of the separate stories. And a beautifully creepy tree growing up, directly in the center of the room. This made more spectacular by a hole awaiting its growth through the floor above. A mind blowingly beautiful scene. But alas, it was no more. Worse (or better) yet, a vast array of other buildings that upon my gaze were merely a dissolving ghost in my mind. It was an eerie feeling, that’s for sure, but not as jolting as my disappointment in realizing my pet project focal point was gone. Oh well, chug along.
Jane and I drove around the buildings for a bit, while I scouted some subjects. I found a few great ones and had the chance to approach them. Sadly one was being walked over by what seemed to be either construction crew members planning a renovation, or material thieves. Either way, I figured it best to keep my distance. I got some shots of the building itself, but not the interior that I had hoped. Who knows, maybe tomorrow. ;^)
I got a couple fun building shots which one I have shown above. I hope you dig the architecture and the beauty that can be seen in the death of many of these buildings, like I have . Brick, brick brick… hah.
Now this following image is easily my favorite of the trip so far. There is something about black and white that will always have a special place in my heart. This image is showing four remaining buildings, where a line of buildings once continued, far out of frame, but are now faded images in my head.