Last weekend I went to Sydney and was absolutely captured by it. It has so much to say. I felt as I walked the streets that each building had a story, had stood the test of time and tourists and had served and continued to serve its function well. These buildings had a grace to them that nothing built in the last twenty years can compare.
Some of these buildings were the first ever in Australia, mind blowing. I did a report on Francis Greenway, the first architect of Australia and so have some sort of historical perspective on this, and to see these ornate and intricate buildings still standing, just blew my mind. It seemed as each had its own story and part to play amongst the varied landscape.
I think this is precisely why I love downtown Grand Rapids. Each building has its own unique story and could tell of events from the 1930’s, but still stands today with its own little quirks and nooks, not shiny and perfect, but beautiful just the same. Each building has spaces and parts that seem unnecessary today, but which made perfect and logical sense for the purpose built.
Maybe I like these buildings because I can relate. I’m not new (yes, I’m not that old, but two decades have given me enough to realize that I’m aging) and I have my own little quirks and personality. There is nothing about me that is all shiny and perfect, and I think I like it that way. I hope that, like old buildings, people can see that I have lived for some time and that time has made me who I am.
I am living on the Gold Coast. It is a lovely place, but was built mainly in the last 30 years or so. When my friends and I go out, its to a coffee shop with new machines and counters, with unwobbly tables and plastic chairs. When we ride bikes to the beach, its past very square and modern houses. Everything is new and polished, there is nothing that has any sort of history, which makes things lose some of their appeal. I mean, every building is modern and perfect (except for my apartment it seems) and has no cracked walls or history. It has a quite ‘plasiky’, consumerist feel and maybe that is because it was built for tourists.
So, here’s to us who have history. Those of us who have ups and downs in relationships, who have parts of history that like that cracked door out back, we prefer to hide. We have flaws and things that aren’t quite right. Yes, we’re not perfect, but we have depth and character and feelings. We were made not just to last for today, but for eternity, which is the ultimate meaning of history.