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…..