Lingering Beauty

A breeze starts somewhere above the ocean. As it coasts toward land it gains speed and gathers warmth. It skims over waves frothing at the base of a cliff, up and over the lip far above, where it breaks around a mansion abandoned on this high point.

The wind slips into the courtyard, around walls painted once-vivid colors that have faded to a pastel shade, gently washed by rain and sanded by the thick, salty air. The rainforest, once kept at bay, has begun to encroach again. It sends vines and boughs snaking up and over the walls. Manicured gardens have grown wild once more as nature reinstates its own beauty over the efforts of man. The blue tiles that line the ground have been pried up, and the wind barely stirs the slicked layer of slime that coats the old pool. Next it flows through the vacancies at doorways and windows and into the settling structure, swirling the dust gathered in corners. The rooms, picked of furniture, are left empty and echoing.

“Nature reinstates its own beauty over the efforts of man.”

Not long ago this was somebody’s paradise. A dream at last realized in concrete tactility. Today, tracing the neglected hallways, it’s not difficult to imagine this place as it once was. Gleaming and new, a shelter and a home. For a moment the decay shimmers and becomes whole again. The walls shed their dirt and become bright once more. Dust is pulled backwards and flung out of the rooms, and the pool appears cleansed, clear and blue. Creeping overgrowth retreats over the walls and back to the rainforest.

The sounds of a home return: bare footsteps, running water, soft music echoing. Fresh citrus wafts through the halls while that same wind stirs the drapes, fanning the lazy heat of an aimless afternoon. With the warmth it becomes clear that beauty lingers here, still. Even now.

Written by Grady Mitchell
Photographed by Stephen Wilde

The Journal is published bi-annually and complimentary copies are available at Herschel Supply stockists worldwide.

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