I knew change was afoot when I saw shiny new fence posts–an unusual spring flower in these parts–sprouting in the empty lot beside my favorite abandoned factory on April 21st. If you’re a longtime reader of Hoarded Ordinaries, you’ve seen many pictures of this abandoned and decrepit factory on Water Street here in Keene. I think it’s fair to say that I’m obsessed with this factory and the empty brownfield that sits beside it. Over the several years I’ve lived in Keene, I’ve watched that brownfield turn yellow with goldenrod in the summertime while tendrils of Virginia creeper clinging to old brick turn crimson in the fall. Last summer, the empty lot next to “my” factory–a lot the dog and I often cut through on our walks into town–served as a parking lot for bulldozers while workers installed new sewer lines on Water Street. And last October, this same empty lot served as a parking lot for out-of-state campaign volunteers who canvassed local neighborhoods in the name of their favorite presidential candidates. After observing in every season, weather, and mood this abandoned factory and the seemingly lifeless brownfield that neighbors it, I can say with confidence that there’s a lot going on here…a lot, that is, if you slow down to look and if you watch over time, tracking the subtle changes only an observant neighbor would notice.
You didn’t have to be very observant, though, to notice that by April 24th, a major change was in the works: a chain-link fence where there hadn’t been fence before:
And if a chain-link fence weren’t obvious enough, by April 30th, a gate and padlocked chain had been added: guarantee that local dog-walking bloggers won’t be cutting through here anymore:
I’ve yet to determine what sort of plan is afoot here at my formerly favorite pedestrian short-cut…the craver-of-mysteries in me prefers to see this plan and its fruit reveal itself gradually, a kind of temporal strip-tease in which The Answer appears slowly and seductively. Part of me is happy that this brownfield is being reclaimed; another part is jealous and protective, hoping that workers treat “my” field with tender care while wondering what will happen to the buried seeds of last summer’s goldenrods when they discover a new parking lot or building plunked down on their embryonic heads. I trust that Answers, like sprouting goldenrods, will appear in due time. In the meantime, the dog and I will walk around, finding other ways of short-cutting into town. After all, change is afoot, and so is one local dog-walking blogger.