Return

I am intrigued by artifacts of the past, because seeing them, passing through their space, touching them – are physical, tangible links to people and a time in the past. Interacting with especially old material objects is a way to share an experience, in a form, with people in the past.

Franklin, Washington is a site where coal used to be mined. I saw the expected ruins of the mine, and the sign said there was a cemetery up ahead as well. What was most profound, however, was how nature had overwhelmed the site. Without the trail, or for whoever built the trail, documented information with the location of the mine and cemetery – this would be very hard to stumble upon. I almost even missed some of the mining structures and headstones because of how well nature had concealed man’s temporary endeavors. When I entered the cemetery area, I saw the low wrought iron fence before I saw the first headstone behind it; but really I had almost missed the fence completely because the plants of the forest were so prominent. And I do not know why this person was special compared to the others, to where they had a fence around their headstone whereas others did not. Wandering down the different trail’s branches, I would think for a moment I was just on an ordinary hike then in front of me, staring at me, would be a headstone.

It made me think of the power of nature and its resiliency. Humans scar land, often cause quite a bit of destruction, to where a space may never return near to its original state. Yet nature also has this kind of a capacity to heal itself in some ways. Western Washington is unique in that it is green and lush and its landscape is able to grow in coverage in a way the stark, naked mines that are sharply seen against the desert in southern California or in Death Valley will probably never be grown over.

As I left the cemetery area, the overgrown thorn tendrils were en masse clutching at my clothes, pulling me back. I was alone, it was quiet. I thought of the haunted forest fairy tales, and imagined the thorny armies whispering, “You cannot go; you must stay here; this is where you belong, with the rest. We will make you part of us.”

Eventually.

 

Rooted wire cable, a foundation for other roots as well.

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This is an example of the forest absorbing the foreign structures into itself. If it were not for the horizontal tracks and a branched trail indicating something unique may be off to the side, this is a structure I would have missed.

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Even a presumably once prominent fence is becoming camouflaged.

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Question: Why is this person who died in 1892 more special than the rest so as to be surrounded by a fence?

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A side path.

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Ten feet up the side path.

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