Graffiti and a Crown of Thorns

Graffiti in the Caribbean

Graffiti at Fort Augusta - 2010

There are ruins, both old and new, on the old site of Fort Louise Augusta high above the point that guards the entrance to Christiansted harbor. Some of these ruins are decorated with graffiti that are not likely to be innocent.

Just to the left of the graffiti are the remains of an old building covered in the thorny cactus-like stalks of the night-blooming cereus. It was not blooming on this day, but I have seen the blooms, and they are spectacular.

The ruins, beautiful views of the harbor and ocean, contrasted with modern radio equipment housed in a ramshackle block building and a navigation light on the farthest point make this an interesting place to visit. Yet because of the graffiti and litter that speak to less desirable private activities, and the remoteness of the place, one also feels peculiarly vulnerable here.

ruin with night-blooming cereus

A Crown of Thorns - 2010

The Dark and Light of it

Cotton plantation greathouse ruins

Greathouse Ruins -2010

The strong shadows from the morning sunlight highlighted the geometry of this cotton plantation greathouse that lay in ruins — windows missing, iron bars staining the walls with rust, and the roof open to the brilliant blue morning sky. These old stone relics are gradually disappearing as they crumble or are converted into modern greathouses for today’s wealthy.

On the “lighter” side is this second floor doorway in a historic Christiansted building, apparently still occupied. The stairway, green doors flung open, and delicate curves of the railing invites one in.

Doorway in historic Christiansted building

Doorway with feelers - 2010

Time passes

queen for a day

Queen for a day - 2010

The queen rides by in sparkling yellow proud and smiling. A few blocks away, the afternoon sun illuminates a crumbling cemetery. The stones speak of dreams and lives long gone, and stories played out on that balcony just beyond the cemetery wall.

Cemetery in Frederiksted

Gone for a while - 2010

Faded places

reflections on an abandoned building

Reflections - 2010

Every community has its empty places, faded and overgrown. Some of these, when there had been no design or charm to begin with, become a blight on the landscape. But others have personality and become a part of the character of a place, in their decline adding a patina of charm and history.

How do the well-intentioned and civic-minded learn to tell the difference, so they can carve away the decay and blight while leaving the history and charm in place?

red gate to overgrown courtyard

Red gate - 2010

Left behind

Shard - 2009

Shard - 2009

This thick pale-blue piece of glass was laying on the broken green pavement of a long-abandoned and overgrown tennis court. While greens are not always my favorite color, this was like finding a jewel in the trash — a bit of beauty in what has been left behind.

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