Monday, March 26, 2012

if you lived here you'd be home by now

The camera of my worst scrapes and greatest adventures has bit the dust and has subsequently been replaced with a bulkier model with a slightly zoomier lens that doesn't fit so neatly in my purse, but at least the saving grace of the digital world is still being able to retrieve one's pictures when the camera goes kaput. This might be the only win it has over analog.

A couple months ago the weather thawed out for good, and I drove out to a gorge on the east side, and wished the hiking trail descended with the waterfalls but instead the route took me through the woods where there was dead leaves and dirty ground and squirrels and chipmunks galore. 

I stopped at the top of the park, behind the cul-de-sacs of lilliputian post-war American dreams, aluminum siding basementless ranches with little yards. This place in the back was supposed to be for more, but it never happened, just concrete slabs now overgrown, a road to nowhere.

The infrastructure was only half-finished, there are thorns and marshes, outcroppings of trees and birds, fire hydrants like part of a lost and unremarkable civilization.

One of the growing feelings I have is that this area will never come back, that future generations will watch the neighborhoods fallow, the houses collapsed upon themselves as some degree of nature reclaims them. Thriving centers like Timbuktu and boomtowns of the western states are now dusty and populated only by the stragglers, the coal mining towns where my family comes from are already emptying, and the trailers and company shacks that haven't fallen apart are hollow bodies with only the memories of formerly inhabiting souls, escaping like the tattered curtains from the broken windows. As the empire tightens its grip and collapses, I wonder what the future holds.


  1. Oh, don't worry, the abandonment will be a cheap source of raw materials post-apocalypse. Think of how much a rusted fire hydrant would bring in.

  2. dmf,
    I forgot to mention that the coyotes live in the ravine and when we walked down to the non-development, we could hear the howls coming up.

    In the event of damoclesing, we need to invest in a pickup truck, methinks.

  3. Another saving grace of digital cameras: The ease and lack of expense of 'developing' your pictures.

    Back when I went out armed with my Canon 650 EOS, I'd take pics until the cows (or alligators) came home. But a lot of that film never even made it to the developer's.