The Disappeared

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This is a ghost story, except that the ghosts were never living; they were things that humans built assuming they’d endure: roads, houses, towns.

I used to read with fascination about the disappearance of ancient civilizations. In a world where Google Maps allow us to access satellite views of anywhere we please with a mouse click, it seems incredible that entire cities — all those Biblical locales like Ur of the Chaldeans, or the settlements surrounding Stonehenge — could have simply vanished, returned to desert or grassland.

Well, that’s what happened thousands of years ago, when everybody built with wood, I reassured myself.

Until recently, when I realized that things still disappear. Even in Addison County, where change is slow and many buildings date from centuries past — where old houses become inns, old churches become houses, and old mills become shopping centers — things have vanished from both landscape and memory within the past 200, 50, even 10 years.

Click here to continue reading this week’s “Faith in Vermont” column in The Addison Independent.

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