We turned onto a dirt track that led to the warehouse you see above. It was beyond abandoned. It was decaying. It was filthy. Despite that however, beauty could be found. Years of rain had rusted the galvanize roof causing it to swell and sink under the weight of its own age, twisted and torn like dark fabric in the breeze. Light spilled through the rotting canopy of metal, skeletal supports and aged grating, piercing the dusty, humid darkness with a bright, white glow. The light is soft, serene, welcoming... even transcendant. It's beyond the rust and the suffering. It never ages or changes.
The light is eternal.
The light is heavenly.
A former military complex, the site hadn't legally been used since the years of the war. Naturally it would have seen its fair share of vagrancy, vandalism, possibly drug trafficking or maybe even much, much worse. It was strewn with rubbish, rubble, helmets, cans, canteens, and in one sectioned off area - the vestiges of a room - a thick ground layer of faded magazines, stained and soaked newspapers, and decaying official documents and files.
There were two large rectangular depressions in the concrete floor. At the time, they were filled with the rainwater of the previous few weeks, but originally they been used as ammunition stores. Indeed with its shredded roof and huge gaping holes in its flanks, nothing was protecting the site from being reclaimed by the elements. We walked past one basin of black water to investigate one of the sectioned off pseudo-rooms, and made a horrifying discovery.
In a corner, on what was either a tattered old cushion or simply a piece of worn mattress-sponge, lay a puppy, emaciated and without fur. Lifeless, immobile, sick, dying... there was no salvation for this poor, forsaken baby. Horrified, we contemplated ending his suffering, but we had no lethal injections... we had no cutlass... all we had were our bare hands and in the end, we were afraid. We were afraid of crossing that line... afraid of messing up and hurting the animal... afraid.
The regret of our inaction... our cowardice... has stayed with us. We will never make that mistake again. It's possible that the puppy did not die alone. He (or she) had a friend, loyal to the end, another puppy less sickly, who had been staying with him.
Maybe they were siblings.
Maybe that child didn't die alone.
~ ~ ~
Disgusted, and depressed, we carried on. Half buried outside, a broken gas mask left behind by American troops reminded us of a time when U.S. soldiers were stationed in Chaguaramas, a time when the threat of global war touched every corner of the world, even our tropical speck of a nation.
It's also a total Steven Wilson album cover... no really ---> it is.
(At this point I have to explain that Steven Wilson is important. Whether alone or as part of Porcupine Tree or Blackfield, he is a major player in the musical pantheon that inspires and entertains myself and my contingent on these journeys.)
Man leaves behind history.
And nature leaves behind prehistory. This shell may simply be a remnant of a long dead snail, but all around it lie the littered fossils of ancient corals, a testament to a time when this land lay submerged within the sea. Life is short, and it never stands still. The soil of Chaguaramas will show you that.
Despite earlier horrors, we made the best of that day.
We had no choice, because "Time Flies".