Another line for the rap sheet

Posted by jdg | Thursday, April 30, 2009 | ,

This school closed in 2007; most of the windows are boarded up, and nearly all are covered in graffiti tags. The interior of the school is still filled with everything you'd expect after seeing some of my other photos. The dying 12-volt batteries in the smoke detectors still inspire morbid chirping alongside the birds building nests in the overgrown courtyard. In 2009, outside this boarded-up window through which generations of bored students might once have daydreamed, fourteen red tulips bloom.

This time of year, in every neighborhood you see the flowering shrubs that once decorated backyards or ran along the edge of porches that no longer exist: dogwoods, ornamental maples, hydrangeas. Soon forgotten lilacs will turn the neighborhoods purple, but right now they are yellow as the forsythia are in full bloom, silhouetting their missing houses. Sometimes neighbors even maintain and trim these plants though they grow in a long-gone neighbor's yard:

Onion bulbs, like tulips, survive years after the gardeners and even the garden are gone:

Every few days you walk around the abandoned university building across the street from where you live, trying to determine how the scrappers are getting inside. You have the owner's security guy on speed dial. While checking out a scrapper entrance in a hidden courtyard you notice that there are daffodils blooming away from anyone's sight:

This is the sort of place where many years ago employees or students might have taken a smoke break or eaten their lunches on a warm Spring day. Someone once planted these bulbs around the perimeter just to make that experience more pleasant.

These days the courtyard is strewn with trash and a scrapper ties up the gate with an old belt to keep anyone from going in to see how he's accessing the building.

The daffodils don't know there's no one there to enjoy them, so every year they bloom again amid the trash and then start to whither within a matter of days. You tell your daughter she cannot pick the daffodils planted in your own yard. But in this hidden courtyard you pick a few before they're gone and bring them home to a girl you love. You leave the bulbs (of course).