Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quake Damage to Christchurch Heritage Buildings

Sandy in comments under the New Brighton post below gives us this link to preliminary assessments of the earthquake's damage to heritage buildings. Like her I'm saddened by the damage to some of the structures and the reversal of a lot of hard work by many people over the years to preserve these artifacts.

I'm particularly disheartened for the folks working on restoring the Time Ball Station in Lyttelton. They had made great strides in restoration and strengthening and were according to the article close to completing the work. I've had the opportunity to admire their work firsthand on a couple of occasions in recent years on what must be a tough project given the Time Ball station's location and architecture.

If living in New Zealand has taught me anything, however reluctantly I've wanted to learn it over the years, is the power of natural forces to make a mockery of our puny human attempts to create permanence and reshape the physical landscape. Whether standing in the front yard of the Time Ball Station surveying the harbour from mouth to its "foot" (far end from entrance) or poring over aerial photos or various types of maps of Banks Peninsula, I've found myself taking the long, long view: the human presence and our follies are but a blink in deep time. We get to pass this way fleetingly as those before us have and those to come will. But we all in common share in our own times that physical environment.

For all that, I hope what can be saved is saved to hold back the law of entropy at least for one more blink.

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