Stopped wheel

Stopped Wheel
ASA: 5
LIGHT: 150
EXPOSURE: 1 min. 27 sec.
November 29, 2003,
between 2 and 3pm, Bodie, CA

There is a storm coming up from the west.  Dark lenticular clouds are gathered all around.  Almost against his better judgment Steve took this picture, the eight spokes of the circle like a dharma wheel turned over and stopped.  It's not too far from some big machinery, and probably belonged there, but it had been moved here, arranged, as it seems this whole ghost town is arranged: to be picturesque in its decay.

The prettily-placed flywheel betrays Bodie's facade.  At first it seems to be a well-preserved, but crumbling ghost town, a glimpse into a specific moment of the past.  Looking closer, one might notice that an old car has been pieced together out of parts from different cars.  It is a Frankenstein that could never run, but can pass visually as something that once had life.

This entire town was broken down like those cars and has been pieced together again.  Bodie seems to be treated the way altars are: arranged and rearranged, each relic sacred, to be preserved in a state of arrested decay.  It is an odd restoration project, then, to maintain that decay rather than revitalize it.