Saturday, August 26, 2006

exploring the grounds

On Friday during lunch, I decided to walk around the federal facility* where I work and take photographs of the prairie dogs that live here. There are plans to open this facility to commercial development and so I figure the prairie dog days are numbered. I headed out and the first thing I noticed was that there were prairie dog holes everywhere. The second thing I noticed was that as soon as I got anywhere near, the pdogs dive into their holes, making photography a little more challenging than I had in mind for a quick lunch time endeavor. As I looked around thinking about what to do, I noticed one of the many abandoned building not far off across a field. Unlike the outside world, in here, abandoned buildings are not subject to vandalism. Here their only problem is neglect and the elements. I have a fascination for old buildings so my curiosity got the better of me and I quickly abandoned my prairie dog mission for the lure of the speculation and mystery of the hunt for old treasure.

The first thing I found was a very small building next to a series of foundations with all kinds of well heads sticking up out of the ground. This building looked to be in good shape and maybe only recently abandoned but it was the stack of blue and white coolers outside that made me wonder. I am sure they were all empty, right?
On my way to the next nearby building, I found a perfect skull sitting rather peacefully under an old, neglected crab apple tree. It looked like a fox or coyote skull, both animals common to this area.
This building had a few boarded up windows, and lots of missing paint. It was really a complex of three buildings. The small dock-like area was completely open to the elements with one door tilted at an angle and partially off of its hinges.

I walked around to the west side and there nestled next to the building was an old wooden park bench. Up until now, this adventure was all about bricks and broken windows and peeling paint. But the bench brought it all into perspective. I wondered about the lunch breaks and who had enjoyed the afternoon sun and view of Green Mountain sitting here on this bench.

* a 670 acre fenced area secured by armed guards. Many of the buildings date back to WWII when this facility was a giant ammunition factory.


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