“THE IMMIGRANT PORCH…”

immigrants

The Ship Hector Ledger, 1773

Inevitably, spring arrived and the warmth of the sun brought forth new life. As people worked together, communities formed and began to prosper, creating new opportunities for the future generations to come.

Stories—lived or told—of yesterday’s immigrant porches are of generational gathering places where the past and the present were inseparable: an assembled sense of place.

My mind’s eye recollects a childhood in Corazon de Trinidad (Heart of Trinidad) where Italian and English emigrants gathered on our concrete porch. The elders rocked in wooden chairs and talked quietly (not always) in their native tongue. The women, in turn, exited a squeaky screen door near the kitchen: a warning to every wayward child that the guards were on duty. The men—their hands stained yellow with nicotine—leaned against the two red brick pillars that supported the porch or sat on the four crumbling concrete stairs that led to the front door. It was here they verbally wrestled one another—sometimes all at once—over the politics at the coal fields where they worked.  

Me… Well at seven I finally left the security of those red pillars wearing new tap shoes that clicked and clacked as I danced down the four concrete stairs and onto the red brick that lined our streets. My mother had determined: “Tap lessons might just cure your shyness.”

Today, black-and-white photographs suspend my immigrant family in time without end. And yet, to this day, I measure my sovereignty by the immigrant voices on our porch.

So I ask: “Might we, in some way, find our Immigrant Porch once again in the integration of family and values somehow lost as we all tapped away from our past?”

Voices Swept Away in the Winds of Time

SHADOWS OF HUMANITY {Article first published as Shadows of Humanity on Technorati}

Inside the specter that is human life is where we are the most visible. Like tree branches in winter, we cast shadows of who we will become in our spring. Photographer Ansel Adams said: “We live in the shadows.” Personally, I love the shadows for it is there I find solace, moments to contemplate my world and Creation. You do this also, although you may not use the same words to describe it.

Each of us, given social media, expert speak, and on-the-spot news in any language, is ever more aware of the pitfalls that exist in our physical world. There is so much to grasp, sort through, wonder about and datum surround us in white noise. Where do we begin? Can we make sense of it all? How scared am I? What’s next? Ah, and that is just our physical world.

Each of us, given the same aforementioned information, glimpse only shadows of what this all means to our individual lives and that of the people in our six degrees of separation. It overpowers our thoughts and leaves us less able to act on any specific issue. In my more lucid moments, I realize my voice is being swept away in the winds of time, along with yours, and yours and yours…

We look to the governments of the world to handle the “big stuff.” That isn’t always satisfactory either—so many power agendas, elections on the horizon, anarchy, greed, hatred and infighting.

Now that I’ve completely depressed you, well maybe myself, I want you to know I do have hope. No, I am not an optimist nor am I a pessimist. I am a human being living in a complex world alongside my sisters and brothers. THIS is our hope—one another.

Ansel Adams also said: “A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into.” At this moment in our history, each of us is pictured in this photograph: look closely! We can no longer hang in the shadows of unawareness.