At the end of June Michelle and I went up north to visit her family. While there, we spent an evening walking around the little town of Alpena. Naturally, we took lots of pictures. We took turns capturing different parts of the downtown. Yes, I actually did more than write for once! While she was taking pictures, I wrote down some thoughts and ideas.
For some reason, I kept thinking about how stories are hidden all over the place. Perhaps it was the nautical history of Alpena or because we walked by a restaurant that is supposed to be haunted. Maybe it’s a bubbling rage to see something else in the normal things of life. Anyway, this little project was born one evening on the northern edge of Michigan.
Peering into the blanket of normalcy, can you read beyond the stitching? Can you see beyond this curtain? Beyond reason, and beyond fact, there is a secretive realm of the make believe. Fake beasts and false beings walk and drift in the shadows here. Indeed, this place is manufactured by our imagination.
But, I dare to ponder, what if we peeled back this veil, the one made of logical thought and reasonable beliefs; what mysterious and interesting tales could be uttered by the walls of our cities? What stories are masked by the grains of dust, and scent of flower petals?
Would there be tell of evil and frightening sectors of the past, or would we hear of a glorious time, long removed by the vengeful spit of progress? Could the waves whisper us a story of a ship’s demise, or dazzle us with a treasure’s location?
“Where is the wonder, where is the adventure and mystery? There is nothing here but black top, cars and everyday items! There is no murky secrets in our creations. We do not build in myths and evil spirits. We left the world of illusion and demons long again!”
It isn’t obvious, nor is it well detailed. However, there is a web of tales scattered through our carefully manicured world of concrete and steel. Mystery, and excitement is still alive in our world, if only gazed long enough at the objects of our world. Remove wiring and circuitry, and take away the electronic tablets, and our world is suddenly populated with a new cast.
Even without dipping into the supernatural, we can see the stories crafted by our own hands. There are great tales snaked between the buildings and buried within the cracked streets. Stories of man-and-beast are thrilling, but the stories of any given human being, and their dealings are more compelling. Such stories are regular, and far above the frayed lines of myth and science.
The naked passion of these stories is alluring, if only you dig. If you dig into the meat and pillage the tale, you can uncover the mysterious elements. You can see the intriguing remains of our civilization.
And you can do all of this without an electronic device in hand. Such stories are inscribed on the walls of our towns. They are faded signs and crumbling streets. They are smashed cars, and a forgotten old dock. There are stories all around us, if only we are willing to forgo our gadgets, employ our minds, and peer beyond the veil of logic and reason.