This link, 30 Abandoned Places That Look Truly Beautiful, showed up in my Facebook feed this morning. If you haven't seen it yet, take a few minutes to scroll through the images. You won't be sorry that you did.
I had to scroll through twice while I sipped my coffee this. These images are hauntingly beautiful. But what makes them so memorable? Is it the lack of humanity? Is it the ghosts of what once was that lingers in the images? Is it the way Nature is reclaiming what was once hers?
One of my oldest son's favorite documentaries (and we watch a bunch of them in this house) is Life After People (You can watch it for free at this link). It's a gripping tale of what would happen on Earth if humans suddenly vanished. I'm pretty certain Daniel has memorized much of the information in the documentary, because he often throws out random information that he's learned from it. A favorite nugget is the Hoover Dam, which will be able to operate possibly for years without human oversight, and it could conceivably continue to light up the Vegas Strip long after people have disappeared. Sounds like that would be a haunting vision....except there wouldn't be anyone here to witness it.
But perhaps that is why the images of the abandoned places catch me somewhere in my heart, and leave with a lingering sadness wrapped up in the beauty. These places were one alive and thrumming and beautiful in a different way. But that we are here to witness their abandonment leaves an ache for the past, a past that is always slipping away faster than we desire.