Identity, Legacy, Living

Battery and Rebirth

The land is repairing itself now from the spring deluge it experienced this past weekend. It is still trying to assimilate the stands of water upon its surface, soaking and sucking, trying to get back to base. Clogs of leaves and rivers of sand mark the slick black surface of tar. Mini mountains of rock crumble and crunch beneath car tires.

As I traverse curvy country roads and see nature doing its best at damage control, I realize it’s also pushing forward with its plans of renewal. It’s not just attempting to achieve stasis, it’s battling for the burgeoning growth that has been swelling beneath the surface for weeks. Carpets of moss are a brilliant green against the rust colored blankets of leaves up to their chins. In sunny snatches of land, the green points of daffodils are poking up. The air has lost its bite, but blows a breeze still fresh and new.

In this push and pull of survival and revival, I pass a farmyard with a basketball hoop. The grains of the weathered wood on the backboard peeking through the paint, it hangs sideways, the mottled metal loop of the rim vertical rather than horizontal. Of all the images I see in my travels, my mind’s eye freezes this frame.

Why does human ephemera coexisting with a totally divergent context appeal to me so much?

I ponder this as I drive on and suddenly realize why. All of us – broken backboards, bushes and trees swallowed by muck, humans sunk in quicksand – we all struggle to survive despite the forces that strive to push us down. And we do. Despite chipped paint and rusty bolts that no longer mount us firmly to our foundation, we stand. Though rivulets swell into rivers and strain our roots, we hold. Even while downward sucking motion seems inevitable to overcome, we keep our heads above the surface.

A few years ago, my mother was sorting through my grandmother’s old tool shed. An avid gardener whose advancing age had taken both her stamina and her partner, she hadn’t opened the shed in years. In the discard pile of rusty tools, I found a spadeless spade – a thick wooden handle leading to a corroded metal tip even sharper than its original piece. “Can I have this?” I asked. My mother looked at me incredulously. I wanted it as a reminder, that even in an imperfect form, items made with quality materials and craftsmanship would endure. Also, that any job is easier with the proper tools (ie of course you’ll get frustrated if you try to dig a hole with a broken shovel).



Even with the most vital part of its existence broken, this object will endure and possibly inspire others.

May you find your battered backboard or broken shovel.

Photos: Jennifer Butler Basile

Photos: Jennifer Butler Basile




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