The lone tower

The bell tower of Lujia Catholic Church (陆家天主堂钟楼), in the town of Zhelin (柘林) in Shanghai’s Fengxian district.

It was built in 1891, and the wing was used for livestock in the late fifties, and destroyed a decade later. The tower was stripped of its bronze bell, but was spared because it had the word ‘military purpose’ (军用) written or pasted on it. Maybe it was used as a vantage point? I searched for the words now, five decades later, but I cannot find them.

The lone tower now is surrounded by fish ponds and garden plots. The wooden floors have rotten away so from the bottom you can look up to see its three absent floors. As I’m walking around, all kinds of birds fly in and out, having taken shelter in the tower that no longer serves any purpose. A feather comes falling down. I don’t believe in divine signs, but I do take it home for safekeeping.