Saturday, June 13, 2015

What happens when the people leave?

I have a particular fascination with ghost towns. I'm not exactly obsessed about them, but I find them to be very interesting curiosities when they do pop up in my browser. My interest in them arises from my experience as a kid in elementary school.

I remember visiting the Calico Gold mine in California on a field trip in school. I remember seeing the little doorways and thinking that in 5th grade, I was already taller than most everyone of that time. I was fascinated by the thought that there were people living there, trying to make the best of a difficult place to live. They didn't have TVs, dishwashers or even light bulbs.

Then there was Bodie, California. I visited that ghost town on a family road trip. Again, I never forgot the way everything looked and even to this day, consider that men, women and children lived together in a very dangerous and difficult town. All of them fighting in some way, over gold.

From time to time I wonder about what happen when we leave our buildings and roads behind. Much of the American West is desert so nature tends to leave them largely untouched. Old buildings, cars and wagons will stand, largely untouched for decades if not centuries.

In more humid and fertile climates, the plants really do take over. A few days ago, someone posted a very nice collection of pictures of an abandoned fishing town in China. Here is just one of the pictures:

There are other pictures on the same page, and upon closer inspection, we see that the buildings are covered in ivy. Notice how foggy the mountaintops look. That's humidity and those plants are just loving life on these buildings.

Over time, as they work to maintain their links to the building, they slowly break the building down into dust. That's what nature does. The water, the wind, the sun, the bacteria and the plants, will all work together to breakdown and dissolve the work of mankind.

That ghost town is a reminder that nothing is permanent. No building, no roads, nor even the laws we write, are permanent. Some may say the meek shall inherit the earth. That may be so, but the plants and the animals that came before us made it into what we know of it today. Earth is and will remain a wonderful place to be if we can just stay out of their way.
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