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Monday, August 29, 2011

Start with where you are

I don't want to spend a whole lot of time discussing each moment of the day, although I could. That kind of Proustian  approach has its merits; but I'm no Proust. Consequently, I'm perfectly happy to post photos and videos to add a more visceral (and less verbose) dimension to the proceedings. For instance, I'm currently in Houston and contrary to what people might think, it's no cultural backwater nor is it without its beauty.

Well, inside the radius of 610, anyway.

Another aspect about Houston in particular, but more generally regarding the Gulf Coast that I've treasured since I was a child is the sky. Sunrises, sunsets, cloudy days and days of encroaching rainstorms decorate the inverted bowl of the sky (thanks Omar K.); there'll be plenty to come over the next few days as I inundate this space with photos.

For now, here's a small selection from around town.
Houston's home to some remarkable architecture. The city has a reputation for not preserving its history, so one assumption is that developers best replace what they raze with something at least interesting to look at.

This is from an apartment in a high-rise that my sister was looking at near Hermann Park and the Medical Center. There's something about the grid design of a lot of the buildings around Houston that appeals to me. Plus, the reflective surfaces lend a lightness to the structures.

This is another case in point. I forget what the name of the building is, but its across the street from what I know as the Republic Bank building (now home to Bank of America.)

Speak of the devil. This is the Republic Bank of America building. Took this yesterday on Houston's 175th birthday. Thanks Allen Brothers!

Houston may be the epitome of the modern American city to which Sartre referred on his tour of the states after World War II. As I recall, he remarked on the transient nature of the post-war developments that were beginning to dot the landscape. I grew up with a sense of impermanence, partly owing to how fast my world changed.

When we moved from West University to what is now the Galleria area, there was prairie and still dirt roads off some of the main drags. I used to climb trees where there are now office buildings and you could follow Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries just a little down the road from where we lived. Over a period of time, I saw ground broken, foundations laid and huge edifices erected over what had been field and wetland. I considered myself fortunate for having had the opportunity to explore what nature I could. I also grew to accept that there are certain individuals for whom nature exists only to be paved over and built on. I didn't like it then and I'm not fond of that fact or the underlying motivation for it now. That said, knowledge of this matter of the temporal nature of things in the world (and the world itself) has led me to a great appreciation of both the vanishing of Nature herself in the wake of development and, I hope, an understanding and even a sense of compassion for the individuals whose corporations continue to level landscapes both here and in other parts of the country and the world, for that matter.

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