views of the American condition from a small town front porch
The air was cool. The day was new.
Routines of the morning hours began to set in. Black coffee from combustion of vanilla bean and Folgers roast, teased me into thinking that life was ready to proceed into yet another day.
As the darkness of late night receded, from the dimension of the front porch, being replaced at a snail's speed, with a subdued light, reflecting through the prisms of thousands of new raindrops, life moved forward into place. Another day was being sculptured into position.
My front porch is a separate reality from the rest of the 100 year house. In 1920, this two story massive example of Victorian architecture, was built on Jefferson Street, in Clinton, Kentucky. Along with it were 42 homes of kings of commerce for the city and county.
The rich and powerful sat on these front porches and watch as the rhythm of daily life revolved around the comings and goings of the railroad, just two blocks away. Seven times each day, mail, was delivered as passing railroad US Mail cars staff threw large rugged fiber constructive mail sacks out the door of high speed trains, onto the darken wood floor of the depot.
The revolution of these days and hours embraced future shock as their world of horse and buggies were rapidly being totally replaced by the new world of Model T Fords.
Change came hard. Fortunes were lost and remade within the chaos of disruptive commerce. The city was home to three colleges and one women's seminary. The city was often called "The Athens of the West."
Today, all that history is more then just history; it is a profile in future shock.
Rhythms were uprooted as new classes of wealth, of political power, and of poverty set into existence.
In 1862, this city was part of the Confederate State of Kentucky (26 counties west of Bowling Green). To this day in 2020, the songs and flags of the "Lost Cause" still stir hard feelings from both former slaves and the old master class.
On these porches of 1920, culture was being a driven into economic servitude to disruptive technology.
This 1920 Clinton had 5,000 people. Around the courthouse were 85 stores and businesses of commerce. Some 90% of Main Street downtown were in buildings that had been rebuilt in the early years of 1900 through 1910. Millions of locally produced bricks were used in this rebirth of downtown.
Today in 2020, all has changed. Today there are 23 businesses and government offices around the courthouse. On Jefferson Street, the earlier 40 business leaders homes have now been reduced to 3. Another 2 are mobile homes. Another 4 are single family 2 bedroom houses.
Still, my front porch is a place to watch the world go by on any given day. In my world it is that place I go to, with the flowers and comfortable furniture, that allows me to balance off the weirdness of the TV and news media that attack my senses of what our America is turning into.
As the rain falls, headlines disappear. As the rain falls, people become lost in attempts to stay dry. As the rain falls, those who listen to the rhythms hear peace and hope. For a time, the rain drowns out the sounds of anger, of pain, and of lost hope.
As the rain falls we are moved into a self single geography where we listen to our heartbeats, against the drums of anger and despair. As the rain falls, for a short time, the beauty of life in co-existence with nature comforts the soul.
Humanity is but a short term aberration upon the face of earth. Has long as the rains falls, there is hope that in the end, nature will win out over man's attempts to lay siege to all the resources of earth for constant consumerism. Shifting climate and extreme weather forces will become the new geography defining the way man and nature will share this part of the galaxy.
And yet, on this very cool start of what may become a great day in the neighborhood, the rhythm of the rains hitting punching down, upon waiting wood and metal roofs becomes a new age symphony of sound.
Music that cradles' the spirit and soul into that ancient connection when mankind was young and the water in his life was profound. Water meant life. The sound of water running or falling gave definition to that internal resting of what scholars have come to define as the soul.
Listing to the sounds of rain, on my porch, in my wicker chair, with my black coffee, seems as if time was weaving a fine tapestry of senses.
The falling rain gave me a spirit that life upon this planet will be defined and shaped forward in awareness of healing, of existence with the forces of nature with what we will call, normal.
And so, the rains fall.