Steve Chodoriwsky sent these two pictures of Chernobyl yesterday, from, as he puts it, a sunny and summery Kyiv. Hard to believe that the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown happened almost 25 years ago, in 1986, before the Soviet Union disbanded. The mid-1980s seemed to be when the USSR was at its darkest and most intransigent. Chernenko had briefly succeeded the also brief Andropov after a long two decades of Brezhnev and in 1985 Gorbachev came to power. And soon it was all over.
Chernobyl spread radioactive dust all over Europe affecting people, crops, livestock: the dawning that the environment does not actually have political borders in it. Chernobyl itself was abandoned, although I've read several novels about a kind of feral life that goes on in the abandoned city.
No matter how hard-edged urban life is, this is what will happen within a single generation if we just let everything go. All the stone, the concrete, the asphalt, solid as it seems, clearly needs much maintenance and attention: there is a symbiosis here in such architecture and infrastructure. It needs us, while in our minds I sometimes wonder if we only think about how much we need it.