Almost a year ago, walking in the Blue Mountains, I saw this seat. It’s a long time since anyone sat there to look at the view. Now it has become a lovely thing for people to look at too.
More recently, on my US travels, I was in Alcatraz. I was very taken by the buildings that had been burnt out and never restored.
And by the windows that looked like they had been punched out — perhaps when the prison was abandoned.
All the metal fixtures were corroded by the salt winds of San Francisco Bay. I wonder how long it will all last. What will there be to see, in a hundred years? Will Alcatraz still draw the crowds, or will it be just memories and rubble? In a thousand years, it may not even be that.
Why are we so fascinated by abandoned places? I suppose they are poignant; they remind us of our own mortality. Although Alcatraz, of course, is in a league of its own, having been home to dangerous criminals and site of audacious escape attempts. Not poignant, so much, as a scary reminder of the thin line that divides us comfortable tourists from the horrors of the criminal underworld. Us and them. I prefer the overgrown bush seat.
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