This week’s photography prompt from Cheri is “Atop” and I started thinking about photos I had taken from up high here in southern Florida. And then I laughed because the highest places in my neighborhood are the interstate overpasses. There is a city ordinance that buildings can only be three stories tall. I don’t have access to these “tall” buildings so all my photos from Florida are taken with my feet firmly planted on the ground and that ground is very flat.
Then I remembered some of my favorite photos from Cuba – taken from the second story balcony of the Architecture Museum in Trinidad. There are mountains not far from Trinidad, and a second story balcony pales when compared to a mountain-top view. I’m not going to knock my view from over a balcony, however, because my aging body has no desire to hike up a mountain.
And I love looking out a second story window – I have since I was a child. There is a peace that comes from being above the busy streets below, of seeing the upper branches of trees at eye level, of hearing bird songs on ear level. On the other hand, the second story still seems close to the action. I can still converse with people standing below.
Walking through the museum with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guide informed us of the colonial architecture used during the 1700’s and 1800’s when Cuba was prospering from the slave trade. I felt conflicted between the beauty of this city that was built on such a deplorable source of money. I had a hard time denying my joy of seeing and photographing the beautiful colonial buildings and I refuse to deny that the kidnapping, selling and purchasing of people are so very wrong – so I am forced to hold both as true.
But this post isn’t about the beauty of the architecture but is about what I saw from atop the second-story balcony. I love seeing the tops of other buildings – a view that is hidden from the street. A “roofscape” of sorts.
And a felt a little naughty spying on people dining – far above the lack of privacy at street level. Or so they thought.
My greatest joy came from photographing students walking home for lunch. In a land that felt so different and exotic, this felt familiar. All around the world, children interact in similar ways as they go about accomplishing their social developmental needs.
I couldn’t hear their interaction but I knew what the dialog could be because I’ve been there myself as a child and observed children interacting in many settings as I was raising my own children.
To learn about the tour company we used and our travel experience, read this previous post: Cuba: Traveling on the Edge