Each building is, of course, forged of stone or hewed from a once-living tree. So-called man-made objects are just those that began as naturally occurring materials and are broken apart and recombined to form something customized to our purposes.
Viewed with this lens, the city feels less artificial. The cold stone is natural, almost living: it absorbs water, warms under the sun, and sloughs its skin in rain. Like us, stone is affected by time, its outer layer softened and its veins made more prominent. And viewed as a natural landscape, the city feels less permanent: even the strongest-looking behemoth of an apartment tower is gradually deteriorating under the persistent, patient forces of wind, water, and time. Weather continuously wears at the building, carving its influence by subtraction. Dirt stains; rainwater leaves a trail of salt tearing from a sill to the ground; a decorative copper touch oxidizes – and then its greenness washes onto the stone below it; steel rusts earthly red. Little is as convincing of the naturalness of the city as the process of weathering. Stones become covered with moss; ivy creeps up, disjoints, and eventually obliterates brick; wood darkens with moisture and lightens with age, then gets worn into a soft-cornered version of its former self.
Eventually, this town – all towns – will dissolve and become fodder for another generation’s construction.