John & Anne Wiley

2012/03/21

Traces

One of the funky old Planet of the Apes flix had a scene with the Statue of Liberty up to her neck in water. Traces of past human activity like that are intriguing for me somehow. Like the Chaco Canyon sites we flew over on a recent Big Adventure. A local example in the making is Matilija Lake at the western end of Ojai Valley.

0654 Matilija Mudflat

0654 Matilija Mudflat

Built for irrigation and flood control in 1947, it turns out the reservoir silted up so quickly and completely it’s now just a high mudflat behind the dam with some water on top. They’ve already knocked the top off the dam, and may completely remove it to rehabilitate the watershed upstream. If all the dams our species has built were left alone for a few hundred years, what would remain?

0656 ET Symbols?

0656 ET Symbols?

Spots like this look like leftover relics of an extinct culture, or maybe plaintive messages to space-faring aliens. Having seen it during Summer, my impression is it’s actually a great RV camping site. Estuary, dune grasses, wide sand, and a long beach just out of frame at the bottom. Close to quaint downtown Ventura, and within walking distance of the harbor. Still, in my imagination it’s enigmatic traces of archeological activity.

What will future generations, cultures and species make of our land use patterns and large construction projects? Is my abstract interest in stuff like this somehow related to the enjoyment I derive from flying over our civilization? How is it that I enjoy flying over both human traces and patterns wrought by wild and natural processes?

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