Friday, September 20, 2019

Southard Street Night

This is not the first time I have photographed this home before and I still like it with the palms and the symmetry. 
What with all the climate change stuff that creates so much anger, the storms that seem to be getting stronger and more frequent I walk these streets and wonder how the city has survived and thrived since incorporation in 1828. I find it relaxing to walk past these wooden homes and in photographing them I want to store them in my memory as symbols of the sturdy self reliance of Key West over the decades.
I have no particular desire to argue the merits of human caused climate change but even skeptics have given up opposing the notion that the climate is changing, human caused or not, and given that it seems likely we will be seeing more of these grotesquely powerful hurricanes in the seasons to come.
The odd thing about these storms is that if properly managed  governments can limit loss of life and event though damage to property can be hair raising human lives are not generally at risk. It's counter intuitive I know but I'm not afraid of dying in a  storm barreling down on Key West but I am fearful of living through the aftermath of no services, filth everywhere and a total absence of the civilized comforts we are used to in the First World. It just gets stressful living through a storm and dealing with the clean up, not life threatening. 
Then you see the brief video clips of Abaco and Grand Bahama literally vanishing into the sea as huge storm surges climb over the islands, that in all respects are the same as the lumps of rock this side of the Gulf Stream. Those submerged homes could easily be the homes in these pictures.
And then there are the businesses that thrive in good times and not so much when times are tough. Times when tourists stay away, times when national stories about disastrous storms hang over these islands like a bad smell even as the chambers try to over ride the bad news stories. The convenience store above survives through it all the take out food joint below has apparently closed. I liked the idea of Cajun food but Caju alligator and frog was not what I was looking for in a take home dinner.  
Manley Deboer has been in Key West forever selling construction supplies in the face of national chains. I took the picture below planting the office in a stark dark wasteland of emptiness in which they too manage to thrive. Small sparks of light that you need to keep in mind when hurricanes blow out your creative spark.
When I look at Rusty I wonder how stray dogs live through these wet and windy times. Even pets owned by callous owners, the outside dog types...I do the best I can for him and wonder how on judgement day I would justify my inaction on behalf of the animals ignored by humanity.
Then I look upstairs at the Albury Court and compare those walkways to the rising tide waters photographed from upstairs in the Bahamas. Imagine that height of water flowing through your downtown.
Caroline Street as Rusty failed to stop for my most determined effort at a shot of the bicycles flashing by on a street still in focus. I've photographed Caroline Street so many times I don't need this for the archives, just as a study in motion. Well, that didn't work too well. "I'm ready to be obliterated thank you M. Cartier-Bresson."
At least a  guitar player in a mural can't move to screw up the shot. Even if he were alive I doubt the would move considering the concentration displayed:
Sails and Rails used to be a gallery and now its some sort of museum it seems. I guess one day I'll check it out but I wonder what more there is to display on the subject of Flagler and his railroad to Key West.
I saw the sign on the bench and made Rusty stop for a second. The sun might make the bench hot. Be careful. How is it possible such warnings are necessary in a town noted for it's lack of winter weather?
You know it's summer  (and therefore HOT) because there are no dinghies at the dinghy dock. In winter when the town is bulging with people this place overflows with dinghies brought in by people living at anchor out there.
Take pride in the history of your home. The man after whom Kemp's Ridley Turtle is named lived here once.
The Fleming House cleaned up and dramatized on Snapseed. Looks good doesn't it?
A  few more pictures to round out our walk:
A church on William Street at dawn:
Mangia Mangia the Italian restaurant back on Southard Street: