Sometimes it isn’t the location. It’s the timing.
On a day I would have otherwise forgotten, I found myself exploring a park whose official description is limited to an address, a photograph of a non-descript building and instructions on how to rent the park.
I had low expectations. My primary interest was to see what the underside of a highway might look like.
I wasn’t disappointed.
I can’t quite explain it, but there’s something I like about infrastructure. Especially unassuming infrastructure. Things we built to perform a function, not to serve any ephemeral standard of beauty. Things that we maintain and keep polished because they do something for us, not because our souls find joy in gazing upon them. For some reason, these things strike an aesthetic chord.
In a world where by any reasonable measure, the ugly outnumbers and outweighs the beautiful, a highway is the triumph of the ugly. It’s an overt monument to dominance, to anti-nature. It’s an industrial revolution that is also deeply counter-revolutionary. I should have every reason to be revolted by such a scar on the landscape, and yet often I am fascinated. There may be a Darwinian element to this appreciation, a recognition of fitness and adaptation. Or perhaps something Hegelian, an understanding that like the Tyrannosaur or the Humvee, the I-90 exists because it must exist and there was no possible alternative to it coming into being. Better to admire than to live in indignation.
Or perhaps there’s simply a fine line between the gorgeous and the hideous.
In addition to the I-90 bridging its way to Mercer Island, there’s also a fishing pier at Enatai. And this is where timing comes in. In the space of minutes, a location with no purpose but to prohibit anything fun…
… becomes something halfway between Kenai and Fiji.
And at the right moment, a building that is to design as a spork is to utensils manages to be something more.
I returned to Enatai the following weekend. The place was the same, but the light had gone.
Had I had not seen its perfect moment, I wouldn’t have given it another glance.
The complete Flickr set.