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The Falling Hammer 

Highway Inn: 1928 | Shorpy |

Fredericksburg, Virginia, circa 1928. “Brick house, Princess Anne Street.”

One of the things to love about old photos is that they sometimes freeze moments we don’t even notice at the time. Here’s a moment I noticed in passing. Happened back in 1928, or thereabouts. A man was building what seems to be a foundation for some sort of expansion. It may have been a hot day and his hands were sweating. It may have been early morning with a vicious hangover following a long night of drinking. Or it may simply have been an accident.

No matter. At the moment the hammer slipped, the shutter tripped … and you have this small little misstep — a hammer midway between heaven and earth (Aren’t we all?) frozen for all time.

We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments.
— Eliot, Quartets

The house? It survives to this day, even though it has been moved from its 1928 location.

And I note it sports a snazzy “Don’t Tread on Me” flag…..

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rabbit tobacco August 20, 2017, 3:55 PM

    although many will deny that man has no soul, it is quite obvious that through history we can see the
    patterns and can interpret that as soul

  • Butch August 21, 2017, 12:05 PM

    That’s a First Navy Jack, different from the Gadsden Flag. It is flown from the jackstaff (bow) from 0800 to sunset while a USN warship is moored or at anchor.