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For Posterity

This week, share a post about something that’s about to disappear — but worth remembering.

Image by Leland Kent.

We live in a strange cultural moment, where we project our obsessions and fantasies in equal measure on novelty (self-driving cars! Artificial intelligence! Virtual reality!) and nostalgia (everything vintage, artisanal, or made to feel aged and worn). We want old things to work like new ones, and new ones to preserve an aura of the old.

Check out Discover’s archive of posts on nostalgia for posts on related topics.

This dynamic became apparent to me when working on a recent Discover feature on history-lovers and photographers who focus on a peculiar niche: documenting old, crumbling buildings in all their glorious decay. Unlike many of us, these bloggers don’t try to gloss over the many blemishes time tends to inflict on people and inanimate objects alike. On the contrary, they show that complex, rich beauty is present in places where we don’t expect it. As one of the featured bloggers, Leland Kent from Abandoned Southeast, put it:

These amazing buildings were lost to time and forgotten. I wanted to share with the world the things I was seeing and experiencing inside places people rarely go or get to see.

The comments other bloggers have left since the piece was published show how valuable these photographic conservation projects can be. “Decay represents a history which brought us to where we are.” “It is amazing how something seemingly ruined, worthy of being destroyed, can appear so beautiful.” “I love how beauty can be found in unlikely places.”

If you could single-handedly prevent something about to disappear from falling into oblivion, what would it be? Whether a place, an object, a word, a custom, a smell, even a person — what would you save for posterity? Your post this week is your chance to play archivist: whether in writing, in a visual medium, or in any other form you’d like, help us remember something hard to find, easy to miss, or about to go extinct. I can’t wait to explore your mementos!

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  1. It’s a great idea,I think I’ll make a go of it and see if my story can bring back some of the peoples, places and things we were used to and now it seems they have little or no value.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The smell of the earth when it rains! I am one of those people who love that. But that’s not possible in the concrete jungle of cities. I would save that aroma for posterity.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a interesting challenge! I can’t wait to see what other people post for this, and it gives me an excuse to talk about delta blues. This challenge is the essence of win, I swear. :p

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the sentence I love most, “I love how beauty can be found in unlikely places.” Many a time, I feel like bringing back the good old days, when we sang and clapped our hands in the day in our play fields; when we sat in circles telling stories in the moonlight. How beautiful! How I miss those days! How I wish I could bring them back! Thank you for bringing up this wonderful opportunity so that we could see the beauty of the old, the forgotten; so that we could see that beauty is really found in unlikely places.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A young man told the librarian he was going blind and almost done with this life. My poem is for him.

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  6. They.re erecting sound barriers near my apartment…which is next to a highway. I like living near the Interstate…when you see the Northbound traffic slowing down…and it.s not a weekday…around 4:30pm….it.s an accident or workmen setting up cones and shutting down for the day. If you see an ambulance whizzing down the Southbound side…sirens screaming….then you know they.re heading to the hospital downtown…and that might be the reason for NB slowdown.
    I have lived in many areas…near cemeteries and rather quiet places…but I like highway best. When you see RVs and fishing boats and motorhomes going south…you know BBQ season is here! Motorcycles thundering down the road on the way to some event on Veterans Day…in caravans…now that.s an awesome sight!
    But now I don.t hear the dog barking on the other side of 581…because the barrier has her/his view. And soon my view will be blocked from seeing the RVs making their seasonal migration back up North…the car carriers barely making it under Liberty Road bridge..the trailer homes being transported somewhere near or far.
    The pylons are just two streets away now…and the workmen are working fast…so I and my son take as many photographs as we can before we.re sealed off from the “noise” of 581! -_-

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