suburbia 5/

The photographer reports on winter scenes in suburbia.


The winter days are short in suburbia.


The sun rises in a low arc. People lift their hands to shield their eyes, saluting busy lanes of morning traffic. They squint and grimace at the stark light. Their breaths hang in front of them, and they stomp their feet as they wait to cross the road. When the light changes they move swiftly, with long shadows on their heels.


A brief graffiti battle ensues on the high road; a duel akin to tossing rainbow markers back and forth across a fence. The strong convictions on both sides last three weeks. Then fade out in blurred lines of pink and orange. Clown bile fired from water pistols, diluted by time and rain.


The wind turns from breezy to bracing and requires the wearing of many layers (which I like, and also hate). We are multi-layered beings in suburbia. Occasional exchanges with strangers, wrap around red ears like scarves and warm us.


Familiar faces disappear, and new builds appear. The many-storied heights of the latter, not filling the gaps left by the former.


A dusty stationary shop becomes a shiny supermarket overnight. A legitimate tragedy, underlined by a sliding electric door. The usual bucket for wet umbrellas by the door is erased. And two warm and earnest shop attendants with it. A long aisle of shiny 1.99 labels leading to a post office counter at the back punches holes in what once was. “For security reasons, this package contains a bleeding ink heart “.


The rain turns itself on and off like faulty light switch. It runs in silver rivulets down dark train windows. Pelts down on skylights like handfuls of rice. Dances in a fine mist in the warm halos of streetlamps. Turns sidewalks into mirrors, reflecting pedestrians and cars. Gathers in puddles in parks. And leaves all suburbia damp and cold.


Clouds shapeshift across the sky and distract daydreamers from their chores. Like curious Miyazaki characters, animated by the wind. The sun plays “peekaboo” between them in Morse code. And then very suddenly it’s night.


Suburbia surrenders to electric light. 

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