Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Thematic Photographic 82: "2009 - The Year that Was" v.6.0 - Grief and Loss, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and City Plaza

"Wesley Long"
Greensboro, NC - October 2009 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

"Speaking Without Tongues"
Durham, NC - October 2009 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

"City Plaza"
Raleigh, NC - December 2009 (Click to embiggen)

Thematic Photographic hosted by Carmi - Button Image by Smarmoofus Hosted by Written Inc.

The final quarter and change of 2009 was a tough time for a lot of people. Thematic Photographic's progenitor lost his suddenly in September, a blow that staggered him and his family. Around that same time the , Queen of Memes and Peace Globes was struggling with watching her own father battle the illness that gripped him . I couldn't make a trip to Ontario to visit with the Levy family, much as I would have liked to. But Mimi is (more or less) local, and I spent an afternoon with her at Wesley Long Hospital where I got this shot of an empty waiting room. Loss is an unfortunate part of life as we know it, but as a very wise blogger once wrote, "one's life, no matter how brief, is never wasted if we remember". And so it's in remembrance not only of these two, but of all the others we lost during 2009 that I present this photo.

October also brought another kind of remembrance with it, a remembrance of those who struggle with - and sometimes perish in - the grip of domestic violence. If you were reading this blog at pretty much any time during the month of October, you know (if you didn't know before) that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You're also doubtless aware of the blog project I've gotten involved in with known as . But during October, I was privileged to witness and record a couple of events above and beyond that work. The first was a silent march in downtown Raleigh in memory of Jammie Street, a murdered mother of three who was allegedly shot to death by her estranged boyfriend. As powerful as that event was, however, it had nothing on the play "Speaking Without Tongues" a play by and for survivors produced by the Durham-based Hidden Voices. I was able to document both of these events for you here, and it's fitting to revisit them as part of a "Year in Review" series, because they certainly both impacted me deeply.

But not all of the latter days of 2009 were so grim. the Powers That Be of my fair city seem to think that we need strive to be on par with other major urban centers -- specifically New York City. and it's not that I object to urban renewal as a concept, or even that I object to the city's efforts to clean up the city core. I think these are laudable efforts on a lot of levels, most notably in containing urban sprawl. But in the process of "going vertical" I think perhaps the mayor and the city council are taking their eyes off the ball sometimes. Mr. Mayor, distinguished council members, honored guests: I submit to you that there is and ever shall be but one New York City, and it is neither necessary nor advisable to try to create another one here in our hometown. Growth, when it is properly managed, is good. But let's grow the things that make Raleigh what it is, not try to mutate it into something it isn't. Okay, soapbox mode is now off. I've shown you the area of Fayetteville Street where the "old" Civic Center used to be (if anything built 30 years ago can be called "old") and I've recently learned a couple of additional things about it. First, it has a real official name: "City Plaza". I"m going to go out on a limb and speculate that this is an extension of the naming convention that gave us "City Market". And in a recent My World Tuesday I touched on one of the elements of "Winterfest" -- the outdoor skating rink you don't see in this photo. That rink opened on the first night of Winterfest 2009 (December 4) in an "opening ceremony" that culminated with the lighting of this rather substantial Christmas tree. I forget now exactly how tall it is, but I do remember hearing that it held 10,000 lights -- over a mile's worth. I just hope they're the energy efficient LED variety, because I don't even like to think about the amount of electricity required to keep that outdoor rink frozen in this climate.

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SandyCarlson said...

Wow. Beautifully, compassionately said, Mojo. You get to the heart of things in word and image--and you make me think of what's what and what's not what.

tiff said...

HNY Mojo - here's to a 2010 that sees much less hurt and much more joy than 2009 (or previous years) did.

Carver said...

Excellent post. I am still having trouble with removing Fayetteville street for a pedestrian mall only to remove to mall for a street again a few decades later. I wonder if they'll remove the street in a few more decades when a mall seems like a good idea again.

Mama Zen said...

It was so kind of you to be there for Mimi. You're a good guy, Mojo.

Carmi said...

You are a kind and gentle soul, and there's a trip in my future to spend some time with you.