Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forsaken Places

Wit's End is primarily about the subject of trees dying prematurely from air pollution, and so most of the images on the blog are of damaged foliage and trees falling on houses and so forth.  At the same time, I am very fond of taking photos of abandoned farms, cemeteries and other scenes of evocative loss, which I love for their atmosphere of decay.  This collection of pictures - of deteriorating buildings and cars, where nature is reclaiming the ephemeral detritus of human civilization - is taken from earlier posts at Wit's End (for another project in the works).  To jump to the last post about trees (There Goes the Neighborhood!) click here.

A trip through South Carolina in December 2013, posted as Against the Ruin of the World.

From south Jersey, a treasure of cars forgotten behind a barn, posted July 2014 in There Goes the Neighborhood

This neglected New Jersey farm was part of the post The Human Volcano

This photograph is from the post Ungentle Ministrations
These two photos are from western New Jersey, posted in A Dream of Trees

The pictures that follow were taken in Pennsylvania, on my way home from the 2013 Age of Limits Conference, posted at Our Revels Have Now Ended.

These photos are from central Pennsylvania, posted at Nature Debauched.

These pictures were taken in 2012 in West Virginia, posted at Afterthoughts.

The following photos were taken around Monmouth Park, the site of a battlefield in the Revolutionary War, posted in Overshot.

This ramshackle barn is in Whitehouse, NJ not far from Wit's End.  Photos posted in No One Knows Where This Will Lead

I passed this relic when I was lost in Kentucky, trying to find Daniel Boone National Park.  Posted in We Fell From a Dying Tree - ἀσφοδελὸν λειμῶνα (Asphodel Meadow)

Rural northwestern New Jersey, on a trip to High Point State Park, posted in Subdue the Satanic Wilderness, Intoxicated with Barbarism


  1. Hi Gail - thanks for the interesting, poignant pictures of bygone humanity's impact on the environment. We build giant factories on acres of concrete and macadam but never do we go back to restore the abandoned sites to their original pristine conditions, without the buildings and concrete/blacktop. Lazy, energy-consuming humanity has better things to do to continue using up the energy as fast as we can than restoring the land to what it once was. Besides, nature will do that "for us." So everywhere we look now we see abandoned human structures and vehicles rotting away, useless and blighting the areas. Birds, reptiles and bugs don't care and will make their temporary homes in these decrepit sites, but like the Pacific gyre (and the other 5 around the world) nobody is cleaning any of it up (unless it brings in money - like scrap metal for the time being). Unsold, vacant housing sits all over the U.S. through the seasons with no maintenance or clean-up of any kind, much of it in our own neighborhoods. The banks don't want them (some have even bulldozed them over to prevent human "squatters" and to provide a "clean" parcel on which a builder may be tempted to construct another structure (to be abandoned once again).

    I've looked at so many sites that have pictures of abandoned and decaying factories, sanitariums, churches, houses, amusement parks, dumps, and infrastructure - and they're all still there, relics of a by-gone humanity that's moved to another place (to ruin).

    Meanwhile, i'm picking up leaves and branches every day, and I notice that a lot of the trees all along my driving routes have exposed crowns with leafless branches protruding above the thinning bodies. It's like watching them starve to death and brings me to tears. How can a species so equipped to love and nurture turn so evil and destructive as to kill its own host?! We're truly one sick species.

    Over on NBL the first question put to the readers is up for commenting, should you care to respond to "Does humanity deserve extinction?" I responded that our stupidity, greed and ignorance (of all the signs pointing out that we're going the wrong way) says it all and that we've basically chosen this over stewardship of the environment - so we get what we "deserve" in that sense. i'd be interested on your take.

    Thanks for these photos from your vast collection.



    Crews battling a wildfire in Yosemite National Park were racing Wednesday to cut off the flames before they reach a small but renowned cluster of Giant Sequoia trees. The Merced Grove remained about a few miles from the advancing fire, and Northern California fire officials said they want to block the blaze off before it gets too close. “It needs to be protected,” Carlton Joseph, incident commander for the fire, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The Merced Grove is the smallest of the park’s three Giant Sequioa groves, with only about 20 of its towering trees — about 3,000 years old — remaining. [there's more, including video]


  3. Tom Petty's new album delivers the message, I hope a few are listening.
    Hypnotic Eye - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    1. "American Dream Plan B" 3:00
    2. "Fault Lines" 4:28
    3. "Red River" 3:59
    4. "Full Grown Boy" 3:26
    5. "All You Can Carry" 4:34
    6. "Power Drunk" 4:39
    7. "Forgotten Man" 2:48
    8. "Sins Of My Youth" 3:49
    9. "U Get Me High" 4:11
    10. "Burnt Out Town" 3:05
    11. "Shadow People" 6:37
    12. "Playin' Dumb" (Vinyl, digital and Blu-Ray bonus track)

  4. Terry Gross just interviewed him on Fresh Air...


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