Thursday, August 9, 2012

What is it, really?

It's not a house, it's not a building, most aren't shelter. No walls, often barely a roof, though many have floors, some have seating, none are home.

They occupy space. They have a purpose, but they aren't useful in any normal way.

I have one, do you?

Mine comes from China. It provides shade, mostly. It almost serves a practical purpose. But it's not just the shade.

I think they serve our minds, much more than they serve our bodies. I think they are worth thinking about.

I like to look at them, like this.
Or this.
Or this.
They invite us in. I enter. Being in, is, well, not as satisfying as looking in, or more correctly, looking at.

I look from it, like this,
I can't see it when I'm in it, so it adds nothing, not even shelter. The view might be very nice. Often that's why it's there. Sometimes not.

I think they are mostly symbolic. They evoke the things that in reality they're not. Shelter, home.

Unlike homes and shelters, they don't exclude anyone. Most are public goods. Anyone can enjoy them. Anyone can feel sheltered, safe, at peace, almost at home in them, near them.

So I like them, and have enjoyed taking pictures of the ones that are here, and there, along my slow commute route.

And I've enjoyed thinking about them while writing this post.

How about you?

4 comments:

  1. Yes, they are evocative of the things you mention: Shelter, home. They, also, when placed sensitively can evoke much more. They connect things in a way that opens us up to more than the surroundings. They can act a little like a Torii--a gate between what we see and don't see, but know is lurking there.

    Thanks for sharing some marvelous portals between the betweens.
    ~k

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  2. I love gazebos they conjure up images of by gone days of ladies in Victorian dress with parasols sitting quietly and ladylike. We have one on our balcony, nothing fancy, but it gives us extra living space in the summer. I love the ones in parks though, they are usually ornate and lovely picture opportunities.

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  3. If there is a gazebo in a park I am drawn to it, even if it doesn't provide real shelter.

    I guess it's a gathering point as well as providing perspectives of vistas as they are usually put in specific areas.

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  4. Keith, Thanks for the philosophical comment. I particularly like the thought of places that are "between the betweens".

    Dar, ours is on our deck too. The sun has been beating on it for three seasons now and I'm afraid it's not going to survive another. It bothers me that the whole thing including the metal structure is now considered expendable.

    Sonja, I feel drawn to them too. It's that aspect of matter affecting our minds in that way that is so uniquely human. Although my dog used to bark at garbage cans when we walked her at night.

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