The power of place. Built space. Free of Nature’s Grace.
Coventry’s quarry, granite maybe, St. George’s stone had to come from somewhere. My great grandfather James, the bastard, cut Rhode Island stone.
St. George’s was built one small block off the river to be seen from and to see, the sea. In what was then Sea Bright, all the way to Avenue of Two Rivers. The Arch Bishop visited, all the way from Canterbury, England. The stone church may never burn, but It will soon enough be an Island, and then rubble beneath the waves.
Most likely the stone of St.Georges came from a closer quarry, but it still does not burn. Still, ever since I found out my Grandfather was raised in a Rhode Island quarry, I connected the two. I disliked the Episcopal Church, but I loved St. George’s. To me it was a castle, complete with gargoyles and secret doors, magical, and mysterious, and home. I grew up in that building, and felt immensely secure there. As close to the river as it was, It was still on higher ground than us in the filled swamp, two large blocks south, on the river.
The condescending attitudes and second class treatment from clergy and parishioners alike could not remove me from the outside, long after I chose not to attend weekly stockholders meetings there. It was, after all, an empirical outpost, first and foremost. A subtle reminder of where the top of the command and control system remained, Revolution or not. This was not a Protestant Church, they acknowledged the pope, and the one Catholic and apostolic church. I remained neutral, after being forced to confirmation, even after failing the test, I was, confirmed, but not enthusiastically. I was camping on a nearby hilltop in Hartshorne woods the night before as patrol leader, and got yanked out to wear my brothers shoes during the ceremony, without even a bath?
Skullduggery, leached out of orifices built just for that purpose; the Masonic lodge just far enough away, but closer to the original church on the hill, which was transformed into an exclusive day school that I never walked in, ever. I did see my higherbred peers in church...until they were boarded in all the best schools.
Truly, my bit of the worlds humanity had reverted to its masters, who were not in Rome, but close to the English throne. Just as the south reverted to an updated version of its former self after losing the war, the British had resumed a subtle presence, but blatantly obvious rule over command and control in their former colonies. Feel as free as you like, my sheep, but your fleece will belong to the crown.
Things were seldom as they seemed, indeed. Us swamp kids were being raised to pass unspoiled, through the culling, and then returned to the feet of our royals. Not has Rhode Scholars, but as the vanquished, or descendents of the vanquished. It was not us keeping score, and certainly not I, as I went native and never looked back longingly at what might have been. I loved the building, the stone, the gardens...but loved even more the estuary, and Nature...all of which was still being commodified and shipped back there, with little or no understanding of what the forests they timbered meant, or compassion for the creation, including humans that had coevoloved with and within them.
Timbers burn, and stone will hardly float, as the seas rise to cover the barrier beach and join the river once again. The natives wandered west haunted by the apocalypse they narrowly escaped, looking back at a denuded landscape and rotting corpses.
Churches burn in the south, Trumpism tramples new growth, unchecked by the Oligarchy, punishing those who would not fight for their Rhode Scholar’s wife, and their empire.
Stone does not burn. Timbers burn, forests burn, flesh burns. London is burning, but I, lived by the river. I’m wondering where timbers come from now? I have not looked at the ceiling underneath the shale roof of Saint George’s in decades. I wonder where they were cut, and who cut them?