There’s not much else to say at times like this. The heat ripples off the pavement surrounding Chosun National University. The rare ginkgo offers little shade as the sun beats down upon this windless city. Those without air-conditioning have gone nocturnal, or underground in an effort to protect their last sense of comfort in their own skin. It is hotter now than before, older folks tend to say when asking them about this August compared to last. For them, the past seems to start now, and continue ad infinitum. I press for more details, but no luck. The differences between years and decades have melted together no doubt. Such differences seem to matter little in this “past” they recollect.
Yet, when walking through these empty streets and alleyways, one might be forgiven for thinking this a relatively suburban area. Therefore, when changing upon the occasional human-in-passing, a brief acknowledgment is shared. For, in a sense, this heat is the great democratizer. It spares none, and oppresses equally. It scoffs at this season’s ubiquitous mini-fan’s which many young-in’s seem to carry. For, if not overtly overcoming these cheaply made contraptions, the heat seems content to imprison their carriers within arms length of their necessary, albeit temporary salvation. Such is the reduced state of affairs these past weeks. We live, yet at times thriving seems a long way off.
While dripping down an alleyway the other week, I happened upon the scene above. It was one in a short line of old workshops. This one held pieces of bicycles, and under them, pieces of a man. It was shortly after midday, with the temperature in the high 30’s without even the wisp of a breeze. He was coping the best he could. Yet even in this reduced state, he seemed kingly, a testament to the wisdom gained within yielding to what is.
It will be cooler, oh yes.
But for now, it’s hot.
[Photo taken with a Contax T2 shooting Tri-x 400.]
(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)