THE RAINFOREST IS A MEASURE OF TIME
A delicate, green film of mould covers a once elegant hardwood floor in the ballroom at the 400-room hotel in Ocean Falls. It was built in 1958 and named Martin Inn, in honour of the paper mill company's executive.
When Ocean Falls was shattered and mostly destroyed in 1985, Martin Inn was abandoned almost fully equipped and furnished. Years later, looters broke windows and destroyed installations looking for copper pipes and cables. The massive hulk of the hotel turned into an artificial reef on dry land, a home to birds, rodents, plants and fungi.
In addition to the Martin Inn and the industrial site pictured above, the high school was one of several concrete buildings that wasn’t destroyed. The abandoned structure held well against the elements until one winter the skylights over the library collapsed under several feet of snow. A dense carpet of ferns and moss now covers the floor. Small trees rise and vines creep up the walls. The echoing sounds of dripping water add to the illusion of being in a cave. Not entirely safe to enter, this space intrigues and invites both exploration and reflection.
The library is one of the rare places where the past, the present and the future seem to merge. Here one encounters various times existing parallel—the human time and the rainforest time. Such a thought is not necessarily depressing… Outside of the library, deer are feeding on the patch of yellow garden lilies that went native.
I published a longer version of this story in the GEIST magazine nr.73