Vestiges of Past Lives
Time transforms - It changes meaning, memories and physical appearances and the places in our past are often tainted or enhanced by our experiences. Buildings retain an aura, specific characteristic and mood from the people and experiences that have taken place there. The moments seem to seep into the walls.
Returning to a childhood home can be daunting after years of being absent. Memories of a huge house that was filled with wonderful experiences and years of growing up with loved ones can become perceived as disturbingly small and plain.
A Jamaican hotel that was once full of life and excitement, fades into clues of past history and its characters. Old beautiful rooms scattered with mildewed antiques and creeping vines flourish into a scene of wonder and curiosity about the people who once filled it with parties and interesting lives.
An old spoke wheel design prison, built in the 1860s is menacing with single cells full of flaking cement layers of various colors. The history is oppressive and the solitary confinement imposed on every prisoner in small cells permeates the air. The hospital wing hints at the controlled and outdated medical treatments used on noncompliant inmates. Yet history teaches lessons.
The remnants of an old plastic chair and ball highlighted with barred windows attests to the odd rooms on the main floor in an asylum. It was closed due to harsh conditions and treatment of its residents and inspired new legislation to improve conditions elsewhere.
Yet beauty can be seen in historic architecture with layers of paint, classic staircases, old Spanish tiles and broken windows. The old buildings in Cuba remain as they were over 100 years ago and the integrity of their original design is maintained by their lack of change. The cultural change seems to occur within the people who live in them.
A vestige is a trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists yet there is beauty in these decaying places and the memories of the people who once lived in them. Their beauty will remain a little while longer until . . . they fade into the past.