Back at Sloss

It is Sunday and it has been a week since we walked through Sloss Furnace.  It was a truly awesome experience.  Last time I wrote we were ending our experiences in the tunnels.  I have to say they are truly amazing.  After Sterling and I left the tunnels and came back up into the sunlight we made our way toward the other end of the compound.  There is a pond there with fountains.  I am forgetting what they called it, but it was pretty cool.  The restrooms are also in this area as well and we had been walking around for awhile now.

As we walked we were still in awe of the sheer size and the history surrounding us.  The men who worked here had to be made of stern stuff.  I know that not many people today would do the jobs that they did.  These men worked in hot and dangerous conditions.  They worked long days and did so for little pay.  Just imagining them working here had my mind working overtime.  I mean, I can see them coming in for work, smiling and joking with their lunches in their hands.  Talking to each other about their families or what not and then these men moved off and went to their respective jobs.  Each one knowing that they had to be on top of their game or they may not come home.  It was dirty and hot and these men are the reason that Birmingham is what it is today.  You could almost hear the shouts of the men and see them walking around you.  The compound takes you back in time if you let it.

As we stared at the pond and took pictures Sterling said to me, “I can smell the rain coming.”  and indeed on the wind there was the smell right before a rainstorm hits.  With nowhere to go and an adventure taking place we continued at our pace wandering around the fountain.  The photo we got was awesome though.

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After this shot we made our way back in the direction of the truck.  As we went there was even more to see so we had to stop along the way.  We also took another trip down into the tunnel and got a shot that may be explainable, and it may not.  The three orbs at the end of the tunnel on the right side could be the lights reflecting off of something or it could be something else…I will leave it to you to decide:

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After we left the tunnel again I stopped to take a picture of a piece of pipe when all of a sudden the bottom fell out.  It started to rain like it would never stop.  The few people that were there were running for cover and Sterling and I looked at each other and just had to laugh.  We were only sort of getting wet, but we were still getting wet.  Here we stood underneath miles of pipes out in the open and hoping for a dry spot.  We walked a little way and found another semi dry spot and then I realized that we were very close to the building that we first entered.  I looked at Sterling and said, “I think we need to go into that building over there”  He says, “Let’s just stay here, we are kind of dry”  just then the rain started coming sideways and we were not dry at all.  I said, “Come on, let’s go.”  He groaned and we speed walked to the building.  Now in front of the door there was a huge puddle but we made it inside and it was a totally different atmosphere.  Where before there was sunlight playing on the old machinery, now shadows reached their long fingers out to try and encircle everything with their darkness.  It was dark and quieter than it had been before.  Even with the rain beating on the roof, it seemed insulated.  It was almost as if we were inside a bubble.  It was an eerie feeling, but of course, I was snapping pictures anyway.  The contrast from then to now was just too good to pass up.  Now, I have to remind you that my camera is broken.  None of the other settings work except automatic.  So, I had no idea exactly what I was shooting and how it was going to turn out.  In fact, I couldn’t see anything through the viewfinder because it was so dark.  I was shooting and hoping at this point, but hey, I was there.

Meanwhile, we are soaked.  The booklet that the lady at the desk gave us is now unusable, which is why I don’t have it.  We are sheltering in an old building and the floors under us are already flooded; the way the rain outside is coming down it is lucky that the water didn’t rise any further to carry us out of there.  But, as is always the case, the rain started to slow and then it stopped.  We were wet, but we were laughing.  As the rain stopped we emerged from our hiding spot and now Sloss took on a whole new look.  Water dripped off metal and the skies gave the entire place a gloomy feel.  As we made our way to the truck I couldn’t help but think that this adventure couldn’t have ended better.  I mean, if you are going to have an adventure, then something unexpected SHOULD happen.  And boy we didn’t expect to be driving home soaked to the bone.

Birmingham was an amazing adventure and one I would love to do again.  My son and I spent time together and I saw his spirits lift as the day wore on.  At the end of it, I hope he learned that sometimes things don’t go according to plan and sometimes it rains on your adventure, but rain passes and life goes on.  If you make the best of it it just becomes another chapter in the giant book of your life.  Well, I hope he has a giant book full of lots of stories, otherwise he wouldn’t have really lived.  We drove home laughing and talking about all manner of things and taking a piece of Birmingham with us.  It was a day that will last a lifetime and another adventure in the books.

I hope that all of you get rained on sometimes and remember to laugh the wetter that you get.  I hope you all get to have an unexpected adventure.  Life is full of them, just remember to take the lesser traveled road and let the adventures come to you.  Have a great Sunday everyone, I am headed off to work with a happy heart.  Oh, and here are a couple more shots from Sloss.  For more head to my Facebook page.

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