Fells Point Condestruction

October 17, 2012

Several building under reconstruction

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There was a fire in the  historic area of Fells Point, Maryland earlier this summer and as a result, several buildings are undergoing re-construction.  The facades appear to be relatively intact, while the remainder of the structures have been removed.

Front of building under reconstruction

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The loss of the other three walls and roof creates a singular visual.  As such, this is a reminder of the WWII era photographs of the bombed-out buildings in London and numerous other cities after the air raids…

Building interior under reconstruction

Copyright 2012 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

…which in both cases left the interiors open to the elements.  Such is the nature of trauma-that which remains is left raw and exposed.

I just finished reading Laurence Gonzales’ Surviving Survival, which describes the process by which trauma survivors are able, or not, to move forward with their lives.  Highly recommended.   (This is the follow-up to his also excellent Deep  Survival.)   One factor that contributes to survivability is resilience-the ability to take life on its terms and continue going.  Reading this has helped me see these buildings in a completely different way.  The old and the damaged has been stripped away and a newness will take its place that will at once be the same and yet different.  New visitors who had not previously been in these buildings will most likely not notice the changes mandated by the burning.  However, those most close and familiar will be able to tell as nothing is quite the same after such an insult.  The memories will remain.

Superficially, it seems somewhat an easier process for the re-building of a physical structure as that involves things-bricks, mortar, plaster, wood, money.  However, looking at the top two photographs with this idea in mind calls an even greater attention to that which is quite obvious when seen both literally and figuratively: these facades are supported by strong braces.  Without those braces, the remaining edifice would crumble.  With the braces, they are able to stand for the time it will take to re-build and connect to the rest of the structure.  It most likely would have been easier to tear down everything and start again completely, however, the very nature and character of these structures would then have been lost. After all, the front of any building provides the initial point of interest and contact, and therefore is an emotional as well as a physical asset.  Much is the same with the human face.

And so it is with human trauma as well.  Gonzales writes that  a strong support system-someone, and in many cases, some thing, on which to lean,  is one of the key factors in surviving survival.  Such support allows time for the re-building of the body’s physical structure.  At the same time, re-building the psyche means moving on with the memories of what once was and going toward the what might be.  Doing so can be of a magnitude greater and having the proper support for that is critical.

Take care.

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