First inspired by images of Tiwanaku, an archaeological site in Bolivia, I began to see connections between the rise and fall of civilizations, geological and astronomical phenomena, natural cycles, processes of creation and destruction, and our perception of permanence. Residing in climate-controlled environments of glass, concrete, and steel, we have harnessed our planet’s resources. We believe we are in control. But, when we leave the built environment, when we enter wilderness, when we are alone on the face of a mountain at dusk, the sublime feeling we experience in the natural world has much to do with a temporary acknowledgement of the fact that we are small, that we are not in control, that the forces of nature, while beautiful at times, also have the capacity to destroy us. Likewise, when viewing images of Tiwanaku and other archaeological sites, part of what makes these experiences so impactful is that we are viewing what is left of an entire group of people who no longer exist. All that remains are fragments of their architecture. In ruins, we see the possibility of our own demise, and hopefully consider how we might prevent it.