A Paradise Reclaimed – Statement

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All photographs were made in October and November of 2013 at a vacated parking lot in Bristol, Pennsylvania, beside the Delaware River.

Though the meditation was most likely futile, it appeared nature, in an abundance of foliage, color and stance, was reclaiming the spot. Among being a sacred ground to its original inhabitants, the Delaware Indians, this ground was later a thriving brickyard for the blue-collar towns of Bristol and Levittown. I sacrificed eating lunch, affording time instead to photograph during my daily lunch breaks while at the office. Of course I thought about Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”, her sarcastic anthem “repave paradise, put up a parking lot.” But, even more so, poet Robert Bly’s lines sat at the forefront of my mind and footing:

The older we get the more we fail, but the more we fail the more we feel a part of the dead straw of the universe . . . . (excerpt from poem “August Rain”, Robert Bly)

Photos © Michael Ast, 2013