Yesterday was a beautiful day in Cincinnati: clear blue skies and very mild for February. I've always loved Cincinnati. As far as river towns go, you don't find much nicer ones. St. Louis and Memphis are dirty and depressing, Louisville and Pittsburgh are a little too quaint, and New Orleans, well New Orleans is just something all of its own.
The beautiful day had me giddy, even adventurous you might say. Fubu on the other hand, was being a recluse. She curled up in the back and stayed there most of the day.
One of the things I enjoy about my job is some of the old buildings I get to visit. I've always been fascinated by old buildings, structures from another era. When I was in high-school I used to work for a mowing company and one of the lawns we kept was a factory in Danville, KY. It appeared to be from the early part of the twentieth century, during the early decades of the industrial revolution. It was empty and completely deserted but the owners of the property had us maintain the lawn on the premises. One afternoon while trimming around the back-side of the building I noticed one of the windows was ajar. I filed this mentally and later that afternoon, after we were done working for the day I drove back to the factory and snuck in through the open window. I wasn't expecting to find anything, just wanted to explore the three story structure.
A lot of the customers I deliver to are in the business of mass storage and local delivery: basically we bring it to them from the factory and they deliver it to the end customer. In a lot of towns and cities, turn of the century factories that had been long dormant are converted into storage space for these sorts of businesses. The customer I was delivering to yesterday was in one of these old factories on Cincinnati's west-side.
It was a beautiful red brick building, 5 or 6 stories high on its street-front side, which enclosed the property like a horseshoe with a seperate building in the center with a tall smoke-stack.
The glass in the impressive windows were wavy from years of slowly being pulled down by gravity in their peeling green frames.
Some of the old windows had been bricked up with conrcete and glass bricks installed to still allow natural lighting into the structure.
I had delivered here many times before, but it was always just in and out. I always had somewhere else to be and not much time to get there, or maybe it was just the bright sun and gorgeous skies, but I noticed for the first time, that on the dock where I was unloading cabinets was an iron stairway leading up through the roof/overhang of the loading dock.
When I finished unloading the cabinets I pulled the truck up and closed the doors. I looked at the stairway, then looked above the dock overhang.
Having gone as far as to think about it, to not do it would leave me hating myself for the rest of the day. Camera in hand I climbed back onto the dock, taking care to check the dock door windows to see if anyone was still lingering around in the receiving area.
I tiptoed up the stairway to the first level which sat right above the dock overhang. The view was nice from there. Off to the right was a neat looking ventilation unit of some sort in the roof and to the right, the wiring strung into the smoke-stack building were at eye level along with the heating ducts from the old coal furnace that used to be housed there.
I ventured up another level to the third story and the view only got better. I was now looking down on the roof ventilator and I could see over the one story building attached to the smoke-stack, the industrial sector of Cincinnati making itself visible on the skyline.
Just then I saw a guy on a forklift down in the parking lot and another guy in a minivan driving around in the vicinity of the dock. I decided I better go down before I got caught. As I turned to descend the staris I caught the reflection in the massive window in the side of the building, the view of factories and hills in the background and an ascending stairway beckoning.
I walked back down to the dock and the moment my feet hit the cement I felt that twinge of regret. That same twinge of regret when I first considered whether or not I wanted to ascend those stairs in the first place. I knew full well that if I got back in the truck at that moment and drove away I'd be thinking about it all day. I tried to rationalize that I'd be back other times, that there'd be other opportunities.
But I was here, right now. So what if someone said "Hey get down from there?" I wasn't trespassing. I might be overstepping where I needed to be, but I was on the premises for legitimate purposes. The worse that could happen is I would be told to get down from there.
It was a little unnerving as the iron would bend slightly underneath my feet as my weight pressed against the metal strands welded to the frame as I climbed higher and higher. The metal had been painted black and the paint and rust were peeling off the hand rails.
Needless to say, the view was spectacular.
And besides, how many chances do you have to see your truck and trailer in its entirety from ABOVE.
I set up the camera on the rail and set the timer to capture my triumphant moment....
...and started the precarious climb back down.