try as i might, i can not work up a head of steam over these photographs. they have been a part of my memory life for many years and even though i’d asked, “can we go there?” and had been assured we could, we never did (perhaps to avoid a pleasant/bad memory of their own, i don’t know.) and yet, i’ve hung onto them, shuffled them around, taken them out of their album with its black corners holding these small black and white photographs against a deep, velvet-y black paper–a paper so luxurious that it feels like animal skin when you take a corner to turn the page or slip a photograph back into its corners (sometimes in their original place and sometimes forced onto other pages and other memories, a dissonance as they rub against each other, shouldering their way to the front of the line, “i’m more important, these are my pages, this memory i hold is clearer and happier than yours,” until you relent and go back to where they belong–a delicate, faded white script describing the day, the place, the people–you try to remember which one went with what description, but realize it matters not.)
of all the photographs from this section of a life before mine, this is the only one that shows any life; that is blatantly untrue, it is that i have chosen to share with you only those that seem to be uninhabited, even this one, bereft of a human touch, a sign, a fence, the destruction we leave behind us as we move through our time.
this colony began almost two hundred years ago, a president lived here before he decided to move on and make something of himself. it is here that he shared his life with another man–of course, this lifetimes before hate drove love of your fellow man (whether sexual or not) underground. when it was not uncommon to touch another man on the shoulder, hold his hand, look into his eyes and smile, without fear of reprobation. and that may be why these photos remain a blank for me; it is hard to imagine a time when love existed in a gray area of life, a smudge between black & white, as valid as either of those two opposites.