Either way, it's astonishing to see how quickly (and how effortlessly) nature reclaims our works. Vines snake up into roofs and break through cracks in windows. Moss clings to old stone and creates a velvety silhouette with only a trace of human intervention. Birds make nests in old rafters, and animals find shelter under old grain silos. Stones come loose and fall away. Plaster peels from walls. Wooden beams are slowly whittled away by time, rain, and brutal winds. Eventually, entire villages are enveloped back into the forest, to come back from whence they came and return to the Earth all its materials, which were only on loan to us temporarily anyway.
In the book The World Without Us, author Adam Weisman explores what would happen if humans just disappeared tomorrow, leaving everything -everything- behind. It's fascinating to take a look at what would disintegrate almost immediately (most siding used in American homes), and what would never, ever, ever disappear (all the plastic in the world). As proof, Weisman talks about various parts of the world where reclamation by nature is already taking place, such as the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea, the area surrounding Chernobyl, and even parts of New York City.
Since I love seeking out and exploring abandoned buildings here in Galicia, I thought I'd put together a gallery of images. To me, these places are a poignant reminder that we're really not the ones in charge, and no matter what happens to humans in the future, nature will keep on surviving in its own way. In fact, all of the images are from places within the Santiago city limits - you don't have to go far to see nature at work, reinventing, recovering, and reclaiming Galicia as its own.