At the bus stop on the corner of Broadway and Monument I spotted irregularities in a venerable building. A hasty tack-on polluted the design with mismatched bricks and missing window adornments threw the facade out of balance.
The discolor of the bricks was close enough to make it apparent that they were trying to match the original. I don't know what sort of shenanigans they were trying to pull with the windows.
I must have stood at the corner, facing those building a few dozen times this year. Today was the first time I noticed the transgression.
I mentioned it to the man who was waiting with me at the corner. He was more impressed that the building stood all these years and with the marvel that is building construction.
"That's a lot of goddamn work! Think about it...think about all the buildings and the streets that take you all around the city, and the highways to take you to New York, or Cincinnati, or Boston, or Ohio. All the people who worked on that...I don't know, maybe all this shit has always been here. Maybe the world just came like this, with all this stuff already here."
I admired his sincerity and sense of wonder. Does he believe that even the sparkling new buildings that jut into the East Baltimore skyline are not the work of humans?
Sometimes it is hard to imagine what, brick by brick, line by line, step by step, can be built .
Magical fantasies are seductive, especially when the road ahead is long and uncertain and when we can't see the way; when the way seems too hard.
The highlight reel, the montage: magic.
At first sight, love: magic.
There is no magic in the endless stretches of drudgery and grind. There is no magic in a fruitless harvest, in still-borne seeds. There is no magic in the waiting, in the meantime.
No magic, but there is meaning in the struggle and the process and the inching forward. There is meaning in one more rep and dusting off and going again.
Monuments are not borne not of magic, but of moments of intention stacked one after the next.