The Beauty of Nature’s Reclamation
After visiting the graveyard of rusting farm equipment a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been looking at those images and some others of a similar nature and marveling at the beauty to be found in deteriorating things. As we ourselves age we struggle to maintain our health and our youth. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry just trying to prevent ourselves getting old. And certainly care and attention given to ourselves and to those things we wish to preserve can prolong the life of anything.
My house is nearing two centuries old, yet it’s still standing and giving shelter. I was amazed recently to see the body of King Tut opened and unwrapped for scientific analysis and how those human remains had been preserved after thousands of years. Astonishing! The museum where I work holds many objects that, as fragile as they are, have survived for thousands of years.
But it’s those things that are left to the elements, that nature is working to reclaim, that interest me. Nature is marvelous that way, taking back what has been made by us from her raw materials. Stability only exists when propped up on the crutch of maintenance, and preservatives, and a good coat of paint. When left to fend for themselves, few things survive nature’s reclamation.
Unfortunately, in our infinite wisdom and scientific achievements, humans have created some horrible things that would have been better left as raw materials. Nuclear waste, undissolving plastics, chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls and DDT. Nature cannot process these fast enough to benefit us today. But perhaps in the eons ahead, when the human species has vanished from the planet from an uncontrollable virus or the asteroid that darkens the world or global warming or nuclear war or the next Noah’s flood, even these poisons will be, over time, consumed by nature’s great reclamation processes.
In the meanwhile, as I walk about with my camera, I will continue to be intrigued by the beauty in rust and peeling paint and decaying wood and tattered fabrics. Just as nature has a marvelous way of creating beauty in the new born blossom or the gills of a mushroom or an amethyst filled geode, she continues to be as artful in the transformation of those things that are dying. Our autumn season is testament to the beauty of nature’s recycling. And all around us, she is gracefully taking back what belongs to her.
All images are Copyright © George Cannon, All Rights Reserved.