The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter - for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes. - Nikola Tesla, 1934
We all have that one memory, that long-ago day from our past that sticks with us while time marches unimpeded and without forgiveness onward.
It's the memory of a day with either a grandparent no longer with you - perhaps a mother or father - or that special girl you used to know (cue the Boston, before she slips away...) that always bring a smile to your face, no matter the circumstance. Perhaps even a beloved family pet, whose first bark you still fondly remember, or the birth of your first son or daughter and the joy you felt in becoming a parent.
In selfish moments, you occasionally wish for one brief period of time where you could re-live that day.
|Live. Labor. Hope.|
A journey to persist in living, recalling those memories from the past that, while immortal to you, are immaterial to the rest of humanity.
Why this metaphysical pontificating on ephemeral moments, you ask?
Because over the weekend, I recalled such a moment from my youth. While going to bed one night, a family member (no longer living) would always regale me with stories from his youth.
It was one such story that profoundly impacted me in a way that wasn't quite clear until yesterday. While drifting into slumber more than twenty years ago, I was told of the world of his youth, where a city bursted forth with endless possibilities.
A city, mind you, with one of the South's greatest train stations. That train station was the centerpiece of many of the stories for his youth, riding on it to go off to fight a world war, college, honeymoon and other various trips.
It would be torn down in 1969, when the great age of railroads in American had passed. An icon of the city's past, torn down just as the seeds of a new city (a new civilization) were beginning to germinate.
Fitting, the demolition of this magnificent (though neglected) structure took place on September 22, 1969, only a few month's after that civilizations greatest accomplishment -- the landing on the moon.
Though I was too young to understand the significance of the memories being shared from one generation of my family to the other, it was one candid quote as to why this station was torn down that has always stuck with me: "The real reason it was torn down is simple -- it was the most powerful reminder of segregation in the city, and with the changes coming in the city demographics, it had to be demolished."
Back in 2009, on a lark SBPDL was started. As we move toward the four-year anniversary of this site (May 22 is the exact date), I recalled stating this would be the final year.
It won't be.
SBPDL is making an impact, and it's because of a story like the one I heard years ago about the demolition of a train station (symbolically, the leveling of one civilization for the erection of another) that represents the very reason I'm compelled to continue.
To those who have stuck with this site, thank you.
The evolution of SBPDL begins on the fourth anniversary of the site.
Detroit, Atlanta, Birmingham... completed, with Chicago, Philadelphia and Guns, Blacks, and Steel: The Fate of American Cities all in various stages of editing/design/research.
Always remember: Our only duty is to survive this age, for it will end.