Friday, July 07, 2006


Many (OK, ten) years ago, I lived in the small town of Maynard, MA. I lived at the edge of the town forest, which abutted a large, abandoned US Army facility.

Then, as now, I love to walk in the woods, so I used to venture from the town land onto the Army land. The annex was, I think, about 600 acres, and it included some truly beautiful wetlands. I particularly enjoyed exploring the old networks of roads. You could see the traces of the original farm roads (the Army seized the property during WW II) overlaid with the newer paved roads used by the base. There were numerous abandoned ammunition bunkers as well. At that time, the annex was not open to the public, and in fact was actively patrolled, so you had to be on your toes to enjoy a decent walk.

When the toxic cleanup and remediation is finally completed, I believe that the land is going to remain undeveloped. I also understand that the bulk of the land is to be opened for hunting, which is great for hunters but not so good for everybody else.

What brought this to mind was a walk I took yesterday, to the abandoned US Air Force base in Truro, Massachusetts on outer Cape Cod. The same derelict buildings and roads, but this time sited on a 200-foot high bluff overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

I really enjoy walking through abandoned ruins, even modern ones. People (and societies) are happy to talk about themselves, but it's what they leave behind that really tells their stories.

1 comment:

SMB said...

I read a sentence in Investing for Dummies, of all books: Every civilization fails; it's just a question of when.

I've been thinking about it ever since. I wonder what our ruins will say about us when our civilization fails?

(I like ruins too. When we lived in Germany, we saw several ruined castles. I was too young to fully appreciate them but I'm still glad I saw them.)