All that history, all the relationships formed, it’s all long gone. From the vantage point of more than two decades since the base closure it becomes apparent that history is fading away. Exploring the former base it’s remarkable to see how many buildings and structures have vanished. Towers, power plant stacks, the massive residential apartment block, and family housing units. That said many persist. Some have been repurposed, with a new splash of paint, for civilian commercial purposes, while others slowly decay in the harsh marine climate, pealing, chipping, cracking and crumbling. Walking through the former base in the early days of the new winter feels like entering an abandoned, lost, world. Most of the businesses that now exist here are shuttered for the holidays and I’m free to wander, virtually alone among the remains. Along the vast, crumbling runways, their surfaces slowing being atomized into tiny stones with small plants pushing through. Nature reclaiming the land. Continuing past aircraft hangers barely holding on. Punctured with holes, steel girders threatening to tumble at any instant. Signs warning of the possibility of imminent danger. I wander past desiccated fire hydrants, their urgent colors still visible through rust and grit. Once bustling buildings now wear busted windows and pealing panels. Stacks of excavated asphalt and soil are piled like slag. A reminder of the more than $100 million dollars invested in cleaning up the decades of military waste. Aviation fuel, PCBs, heavy metals, and asbestos, just to name a few. The process continues as I note more signs announcing imminent demolition. I continue down roads that now seem to lead nowhere, just to an empty pad where some building once sat. Still, some large military buildings remain, having been re-purposed by metal works and fabrication companies involved in the various industrial projects that have brought a renewed degree of prosperity to the region in recent years. I ponder what their original, military purpose, had been. One seems like it had been a workshop of some sort while another baffles. It reminds be the of those large cold storage apple packing buildings in Washington State. I continually happen upon oddities. A former navy aircraft deicing truck, probably of 1960s vintage, a couple of rusty cannons that pre-date the Americans by hundreds of years, and modern shipping containers toppled by the pervious days wind storms like a child’s toy building blocks.