I’m fascinated by a scenario where future generations come across the Exclusion Zone, without knowing the nature of what it is or was. (This, of course, assumes some kind of cataclysm that destroys much of our historical record.) What would they make of the what was left behind? Of the vehicles and structures, perhaps still radioactive, hastily buried in numerous shallow graves? Or the monstrous complex of buildings at the center of the zone, where earlier peoples seemed to take great care to ensconce… what, exactly?
This is just an idle flight of the imagination, but Chernobyl is such a fascinating disaster because it spurs our minds to think in terms and scales we usually don’t, and can’t quite fathom. Future peoples as removed from us in time as the ancient Egyptians might still fall ill and die because they come across the site of an explosion which happened in the distant past.
There isn’t very much graffiti around Pripyat, but someone has painted dark-blue figures on various buildings. Their ghost-like presences struck me as an apt memorial of the lives lost, the loneliness of the abandoned town, and the lives abruptly interrupted on the twenty-sixth of April, 1986.
The city will continue its decline, rusting and crumbling away to dust, testing the limits of our collective human memory.