Now, between winter snow and spring’s leafing, is the best time to walk through the Treadwell ruins. I can easily see Nature’s efforts to reclaim what was once the largest industrial site in Alaska. It gives me hope, this power of the rainforest to replace what man scrapped away to get at gold.
The metal relics, cast on the spot by craftsmen, retain a dignified beauty under their coats of rust and moss. A steel rail emerges from the soil, twists in the air, then disappears into the meat of a spruce tree. The carcass of a vintage car sinks below leaf mold and dirt, becoming more organic with the passage of each year. A mining car’s undercarriage rests near the edge of cliff above a pond that will eventually hasten it to dissolve. Inured to their industrial beauty, Aki only pauses to check for signs left by passing dogs. I am the only romantic in the family.