Spring is a fascinating time of year in New York City, because you never know what beauty you might suddenly encounter in the most unlikely places. The two photos above are of an abandoned house on the hill between Wadsworth Avenue and Broadway at 186th Street, which inspired me to write this tribute…
This was an abandoned three-story townhouse,
once deeply beloved, now boarded up
and left to disintegrate and die
because no one loved it. Then there was a change.
A graffiti artist hand-painted a huge swirling design on the front of the house
with bold red and blue strokes.
I love you, the artwork said.
The next Spring, morning glories sprang up,
winding themselves through and around the razor-blade barbed wire in front of the house;
using the deadly wire as a trellis for their bright green leaves and purple flowers.
We love you, was their message.
All through the Summer, climbing ivy wrapped itself around the house
covering the boarded windows in rustling leaves,
In the fall those leaves exploded into color with deep red, orange, and brown
before they left.
But the ivy wasn’t finished; it had left a final gift
When the last of the leaves had fallen it revealed:
The ivy’s vines had coated the house in a delicate lace
from top to bottom.
The house had thought it was unloved; it was wrong.
Nature had adopted it as part of her family.
Photos and poem by Greta M. Herron, April 28, 2014