When I was a young girl, I had these big, huge amazing dreams of all the places I’d go and the things I’d do. Then you reach an age and realize you’ve held yourself back from a lot of things. And then you decide to stop holding yourself back but then discover that realistically, you’re not really going to get to read all the books, visit all the places, do all the things. And this would be sad except you also realize you’ve had an extremely privileged life compared to most of the world, and are always surrounded by loved ones, and get to do meaningful work and be inspired by those around you all the time. And it’s not sad that you only got to see a place like once in your life, because most people in the world never get to see it. The memory of that once is more than enough.
From 1978 to 1981, I lived in an abandoned neighborhood in the Zuoying District of Koahsiung, Taiwan. It was here that I had my most solid early childhood memories. We lived on the one street that had residents, our yards manicured, perennial flowers intentionally planted, houses well maintained, while the rest of the neighborhood was in a beautiful disarray as the natural world overtook the very built environment that once sought to tame it.
I always loved the abandoned streets in my neighborhood. It felt like a Leonard Cohen song being sung for Mother Nature. There, trees grew wildly forming a canopy that covered entire streets, sidewalks and home foundations were cracked, disrupted by tree roots, where vines and weeds emerged, headed towards the filtered rays of sunlight.
Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
— Leonard Cohen