i walk a lot. and in all that walking around houston, i see a lot of things. things that one does not see or notice whilst in an automobile. most of them leave me shaking my head.

i took this picture because it caught my eye at the time. nothing more. it was really about the fact that people feel it’s ok to leave their waste for someone else to deal with. i composed the frame and pressed the shutter.

then i got home and processed it.

this picture is representative of society as a whole in my estimation. i suppose it’s symbolic of texas at the moment.

first we have a palm tree. the romans and early christians used them as symbols of victories, both material and spiritual. some african cultures saw them as signs of life and vitality. they in some way symbolize a state of at least relative affluence and prosperity. this is in river oaks. if you are familiar with houston, then you understand the prosperity of the area.

second, we have a wall. and not just any wall. a wall with pointed barbs as a deterrent against breaching. walls have a singular purpose: segregation. segregation itself is not wrong. we have walls in our homes for that very purpose. wheat and chafe and segregated.

like most things, i’m conflicted about how to feel about this. the wall itself didn’t bother me. i’m used to walls. this one was erected next to a very busy street, so i presumed it was to deaden the street noise as a residential area is behind it. i hadn’t noticed the spikes until i saw a sign attached to the wall warning that the spikes were there. whether the spikes were justified or not does not matter. the fact that they are there means that a threat was either real or perceived as real. i found it sad that whoever lived behind the wall felt threatened enough to have the spikes installed. i then wondered about the actual purpose of the wall as well.

third, there are, and the symbolic irony is not lost on me, three dog waste bags hung on the spikes outside of the wall.

why? i see similar situations a lot. dog waste bags strung over the fence of an individual or family residence or left on their entrance sidewalk. thrown down on a public sidewalk or business parking lot. simply dropped in a grassy area of a park. how is bagging it and leaving it any better than just leaving it? i presume it does possibly prevent me or another unsuspecting individual from stepping in it. i can tell you that i’ve done and seen that done dozens of times. especially at our previous apartments.

fourth, and i took notice of this as i was typing this up, “mexico” is on the outside of the wall but reversed as seen from this vantage.

there are never any simple answers. no uncomplicated heroes or easy villains. if someone is promising any one of those, they are lying.





Published On: 2024 April 3

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