Friday, April 22, 2016

A passion for the discarded

I've always had a special kind of reverence for old things.  Things discarded, battered and within an inch of being just a pile of scrap.

I'll look at an old car rusting away in some forsaken back lot and think, What was it like when it was new.  What places did it go and whom did it carry there.  What was the world like around it.  No doubt very different from where it is now.

It's a little sad to see such things discarded simply because they've fallen out of favor with their owners.

I feel the same way about anything abandoned, discarded, unloved...

But while I feel a subtle tug at the heart strings I also see potential.  I never believe anything is too far gone so long as someone is willing to take up the challenge to breathe life back into it.

Yes, there are exceptions and some things are just meant to be thrown away but these days it seems we treat everything from the cars we drive to the people we meet the same way.  Disposable when in our estimation they become too cumbersome.

I've been a fan of Science Fiction since I was a kid which is where I first noticed this fascination with the discarded and neglected.  I was a huge fan of Star Trek (the original series) and always watched with intense interest when the good ship Enterprise would visit some derelict spaceship or forgotten world.  

One of my favorite episodes was entitled, "The Doomsday Machine"  Where Kirk and crew set off to discover the fate of their sister ship who had suffered an unfortunate encounter with a world eating mechanized monster.

What fascinated me wasn't the alien device, however.  It was the bruised, battered hulk of a starship hanging helpless in the cold blackness of space.

The destruction was palpable but what thrilled me was when it was brought at least partially back to life ultimately sacrificing itself and providing the vehicle for Kirk to once again save the galaxy.

It was that last gasp of life.  The Phoenix rising from the ashes if not a bit battered in the process but nonetheless once again relevant.

It's taught me a lesson.  Nothing is beyond hope so long as you're willing to try and the rewards can be truly great.  

I have two cars one is over 40 years old and I've owned it more than half of my life.  It's what I call a project car meaning there's always something to be done.  Mind you, many things have been done but part of the joy of owning it is the ever present opportunity to make it a little better.

When I first bought it nobody paid much attention.  20 years later, however, it seems I can't drive it a block without it coaxing a smile or an impromptu conversation.

It seems to bring others more joy than even I get from it.  I can only guess as to why but if I dared to try it's probably this...

It's not disposable.

It's a reminder that with effort,, some patience and a little love anything is within reach even if nobody else thinks it's worth the effort.

That's why I have a special place in my heart for those old, special things. They're a link to a tapestry of memories that can add color to an otherwise mundane present.

It's worth it to bring some of them into our future. 

By the way, I'm not just talking about cars and barns.  Today we live in a society that's far too quick to label everything disposable, even when those things posess a heart and a soul.

Learn to see the value after the luster has faded.  Learn to see the potential in the passed by.