Written by Paul Stewart
I was drawn to stop and look at the old home. A single-level dwelling on a quiet corner, it was made of dark coloured wood and surrounded by a grey brick fence.
It had the character that is typical in these older homes of Japan. It seemed run-down, uncared for and derelict. But, I cared.
I spent some time looking over the fence studying the details of the building. There was no-one living there. Glass was broken and pieces of wood had dropped to the ground in the narrow space inside the boundary. A beautiful blossoming tree reached over the fence and fanned out over the footpath. A feat of confidence as such trees are normally brutally cut back by regional staff denying us of welcome shade and focus for our admiration.
Houses such as this can still be found amongst the sprawling grey mass of Tokyo though they are becoming a rare gem that shines in a city of square boxes. Their intricate features show, that someone else cared too.
Technologies have changed as have building materials. I would love to see us be more deliberate and create things that beautify our life. Especially our homes that we live in and are surrounded by. It reminds me to do that for myself in my life. And why not create more shape and texture in buildings too? Why not consider how things look? Can we add colour, shape and artistic design? Are we robots just churning out another copy&paste thing to get the revenue?
So, today, as I cycled past this wooden home again, I found a demolishing team at work. I wouldn’t be surprised if, as I write this on the same evening, it has been completely levelled by now. If not, certainly by tomorrow.
I watched the process for some time. There was a lot of rubbish coming out. A sign of neglect. I decided to bike on. As I did, I felt some grief but also, I knew that I had honored what was. That home had become important to me in some way. I wondered if that tree would be respected and survive.
I thought about grief. About change. I think grief can be a difficult feeling to swim in. We can get down. We can feel emotionally heavy. Life can feel hopeless. If we look at the shapely home coming down, and then around it at all the dull developers designs, we might think, where is this going?
But there are beautiful creations. There are developers and architects that care about beauty. They have feeling. We can take the empty space created in the goodbye to that old home and create something new.
We shouldn’t be discouraged when we look around us. What we see, has already been created. We are, in a way, observing the past. Those creations do not limit us. But our thinking can. We are free to imagine, explore and create. We can find outlets for that. As we do so, everyone benefits.
In this world of new ideas and expanding possibilities, we can let our interest grow. We can create the beauty we want to see and, we can remember;
That just as a home can hide its warmth
Behind a fence and its walls
The person has within them
To be discovered and expressed