There’s a liminal nature to abandoned or neglected buildings which attracts me. The place in these photos is an old gypsum silo situated at the back of the village of Hillsborough, NB. The dock where ships laden with gypsum moved up the Petitcodiac River into the Bay of Fundy is gone but for bundles of wood emerging from the shifting mud.
White gypsum pebbles, a form of selenite, dot the earth. Some make their way into my pockets.
The concrete silo is the closest thing to a castle you’ll find in these parts.
The graffiti is a beautiful, hidden expression by individuals trying to exist as liminal as the structure itself. Most of us are that person, desperate to leave a mark, any mark, at some point in our lives.
There are beautiful graffiti artists who leave a memorable image, knowing it will not last. It is art meant to be destroyed to make way for more art. I struggle with this metaphor as a creative person. I dream of a story that echoes through generations and lasts forever. This is that dream’s opposite and I cannot look away.
There are other graffitists, too, caught unprepared with a can of spray paint and a sudden desperation. They scrawl a curse word when they panic in the moment, unable to think of anything clever and too uncertain to make something beautiful. These curses remind me of a primal scream. Of something trapped. I imagine this feeling repeating itself in a future lunch room, a coworker’s unexpected get well soon card laid before them, their mind blank and unable to think of anything more clever than the card already says. They don’t swear this time. They sign their name instead. Maybe they’ll remember the old castle tower in the moment, maybe they won’t.
The tower doesn’t care. It watches the tide go up and down on the river and dreams of pretty white stone.