A post-apocalyptic walk

Humans have always had a bizarre connection to the end of times, whether in movies, books, paintings, or video games. Post-apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it, has always been part of our imaginations, dreams, and nightmares. Somewhere between romanticized fantasy and infinite purgatory for those left behind. But why are we drawn to that strange fantasy?

I was walking through a distant part of my local city, a part I didn’t know much about. It seemed like it had been hit by a fallout, while in fact it was a past industrial area reclaimed by anti-establishment folks. As I was walking around, I was struck by two things:
1) Nature relentlessly taking back what was originally hers, and 2) The silence. Grass was growing over industrial garbage that was left behind. The wind sounded different. It was a sound of loneliness, cold and harsh. Every now and then I could hear faint footsteps in the distance, yet there was no one to make out.
I’d hear faint chatter inside boarded-up shelters that were made from whatever people could find. Metal sheets, cardboard, wood. There were pirate flags, cracked plastic chairs, broken down cars. Anarchist, anti-establishment spray paint all over. Something that looked like an improvised bar, or stage. Large transportation containers were piled up and toppled over, factory windows smashed.

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I could not possibly tell how long it has already all been there but it must have been a while. The entropy and tranquility made it all seem, I have to admit, a certain kind of pretty.
There is some kind of beauty in decay, in a strange sense. It is good to see that nature could claim it all back one day. Maybe we romanticize about it all because we have the warm comfort of our home to escape to, or maybe it’s an instinct buried deep inside us, calling us back to nature.

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I would stand still for a bit, listen to the wind, to faint distant sounds I couldn’t make out. I would observe the rubble under my shoes, the noise of my footsteps. After a while, I came to realise how fragile the world is that we live in, how insignificant the dawn of man really is in a larger, cosmic sense. Most of us choose to live in the here and now, carelessly, oblivious to what their lifestyle might result in, further down the line, what it might do to those around them, and the world they live in.
We cannot deny that everything that has a beginning, also has an end. If we embrace that notion of finite existence, everything we do will have a different meaning. Put in a universal perspective, we are small breadcrumbs that dropped on the kitchen floor.
Therefore, we must appreciate every moment we get as one of infinite, priceless value.

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Notes: Images taken using a Leica M6, on ‘Lomo Lady Grey’ ISO400 film. Developed in my own basement. Scanned using a Plustek 8200i Scanner.

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