We are heading out driving over strands of sun-baked asphalt,
staring at parched hills still waiting for the relief of rain,
seeing the faces of farmers waiting for the release of rain.
We travel this overheated asphalt line through desert towns,
huddled along the road. Shuttered stores, and boarded up homes
betray the charm of an older era; derelicts that embody visions of architects long gone,
some stunning in their clean, sharp lines,
others busied with fussy gingerbread.
Now, sealed and decaying, the world thinks them signs of failure,
far too damaged to repair. We dream, idly,
of living amid this tired elegance, savoring the beauty that could rise from neglect.
Yet that is not our passion now.
It is hard work requiring time, money and a kind and generous touch.
We fear these shuttered icons of a genteel time
will not be allowed to continue their slow slide into a decay
that is not to be shunned (it happens to us all),
but must face the ultimate humiliation
dealt by bulldozers intent on revitalizing
(as if vitality came only with modern design);
and replacing these quiet, proud structures with a different kind of failure,
a new shabbiness, a briefly fresh face, that does not age with grace.