Sunday, June 14, 2009

old key west

I was talking with my good friend Barb Wright the other day. Barb is a beautiful spirit, 20 or 25 years in Key West and owner/operator of BW Promotions, a public relations business that organizes, promotes and sponsors so many of the races (like the upcoming July 4th Crime Stoppers and Hemingway 5K's) and special events we enjoy during the year. She was, in fact, heavily involved with all the happenings going on last month surrounding the sinking of the Vandenburg.

Anyway, our conversation turned (as so many locals' conversations do) to how so much has changed in our community. Well change, I reminded her, is as inevitable as taxes and death and though she agreed, it was true that some changes are for the better while others are not.

For example, when I came to town on February 9th of the year 2000, (funny how you remember the day you came to Key West as clearly as you remember where you were when JFK was shot), the city was in the middle of replacing it's underground sewer and water lines. The air was clouded with coral dust, streets were closed for days at a time and the noise was everywhere. A painful process but, at the end of the day, a change for the better. A change for the worse, perhaps? The city's contrived demise of BoatHouse Row to justify those designed by McCoy monstrosities that currently line the Atlantic shore of the rock.

So where is the "old" Key West? That sanctuary of sanity (or, in some cases insanity) so many of us came here to find.
Well, there's a very similar question in verse 113 of the gnostic gospel of Thomas where the clamoring crowd asks the Christ, "where is the Kingdom of God?" and his answer, common to both questions, was ". . .the kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."
So it is also with "old" Key West. Between the new construction, beyond the marketing hype and below the radar of the tour trolleys, old Key West is "spread upon" the island and, unless we're looking for it, we don't see it.

Old Key West is alive and well, thankfully overlooked by "urbane" sprawl. Look for it, welcome it, embrace it. It's who we are, when we arrived and what we imagined it would be.

1 comment:

KWBound said...

Very well said, Art. Let's just pray that what remains of the kingdom of "Old Key West" never succumbs to the trappings of the greed of developers and city councilpersons.

Thanks for the great pics. They make me homesick.