Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Being that we are entering the prime of the holiday season, it makes sense to start talking about traditions.  I'd like to start with the presentation of Exhibit A:
To some, this may appear to be just an unassuming ti leaf plant.  Let me assure you, though, that this plant was not there as little as two weeks ago.  I saw it today during my afternoon inspection and was rather surprised to find it.  You see, the trench right in front of it was home to a large Kimani tree that had since been removed in the course of construction.  I could even verify from photographs I'd taken that there was no ti leaf to be had in this area.  You can imagine my surprise to find it sprouting in that spot out of the blue.

Upon inquiry, I was pleasantly enlightened in learning that a worker had planted this ti leaf merely a week ago.  It was a lot smaller, he said, and he makes it a point to water it every day to keep it healthy.  The worker also confided in me that he plants ti leaf on every jobsite he goes to - "for luck," he says.

It was in the immediate moments after that conversation that I felt impelled to write about it.  I've encountered so many small traditions in my line of work that I can't help but pause and reflect upon them.  On another project, I met a worker who writes his name somewhere in the walls - such as where the wall will be boarded up or the drywall painted over.  Another worker I know throws money into a concrete slab pour as a gesture of well-wishing and good luck for the structure that will eventually stand upon it.  And there are others who take a piece of the project with them - such as a piece of tile - and build it into their homes.

These traditions are endearing, and I understand to some level why it is done.  People want to leave their own mark upon the world.  They want to leave behind evidence that they were there.  They want to take with them memories and moments of places and things to which they made a contribution. 

I often talk about the way each person in their own way contributes to the successful construction of a place.  I love to see the different skill or tradition each person brings to the project.  I also try to think about what my tradition will be, what token I will leave behind or take with me from all these places I've been. 

I don't have one.

1 comment:

  1. What about what you just did? You can journal/write/tweet about something significant to you about a place the way you chronicled your knitted things? Just a thought.