Friday, January 9, 2009

Infrastructure (of all kinds)

Lovely, undulating tracks!

Decades ago when I was living in Canada I was waiting for a train in London, Ontario and, as a lover of trains and train travel, I struck up a conversation with a railroad official. I complemented him on the London station and Via Rail in general and then lamented the sorry state of Amtrak. He then told me what the problem was with Amtrak: they got a deal of government support at one time, and spent the majority of the money on cars, plush, comfortable, snazzy looking, and virtually nothing on the tracks they run on. End of story.

The Mind's Infrastructure

John's recent post provided an excellent gathering of what is really, as he well knows, the tip of the iceberg on the subject of landscape. It is truly another world, but one which can be approached on and from so many levels that it makes one's mind a Rubik's cube. Each new essay, book, image gives another twist and the pattern changes. Endlessly. But, for Rubik's cube there is a solution. We don't have that luxury.

Still, even though my mind now proves the "string theory" I can't stop reading! It's like a damn disease. And, misery does love company, so here's something tangential that is well worth the time. I put this here especially for John because I can sense a real reader in him (which wins my literary heart to be sure). There is a book called Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald which is a masterpiece of delineation of time and space filtered through the human brain. Of places dimly remembered and revisited. The book is home to occasional, un-captioned photographs. The writing is a Siren-song. (You were warned!)

And, in early August, with some sixth sense, i.e., pre-AOA, I posted about this book and the work of Dana Mueller.


  1. Our country's failure to provide good, efficient passenger rail is insane! We subsidize highways, cars, and air travel instead....
    I'm just gonna stop now.

  2. Yes, the Europe question arises. And, in this country gets nowhere. There is a perpetually existing and constantly employed knee-jerk reaction in this country, stemming from the strong anti-intellectualism strain here. And, the word uttered as the knee jerks is "socialism".

    As long as that attitude reigns, I think we will not have good rails or good health insurance or anything else that even hints of interference with corporate greed. And, the sad thing is, that all such solutions are and will be, rejected out of hand. So, possibilities don't even get researched.

  3. Clair, you should produce a bumper sticker with the line :

    "And, the word uttered as the knee jerks is "socialism". "

    I am totally serious- I'd love that on my truck, it sums up so much of the NEK (and of course a much more widespread) mentality...