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Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Skeletons On The Landscape
My work takes me within a couple hundred mile radius of my home. That brings me into upstate and central New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. While I am driving, I always find myself looking at the buildings, how they are built, designed, the condition they are in, etc. The ones that really grab me are those that have fallen into disrepair. It makes me imagine what the story is behind them: Are they in probate? Is the owner too old and/or too poor? Lack of pride? As the years go by, the structures continue to crumble. Reminds me of the old film The Time Machine where H.G. Wells watches things decay as the years slip by in seconds.
Route 20 runs east and west through the middle of New York state. I imagine, at one time, it was a main artery of travel with many bustling little towns along the way taking retail advantage. When the interstate was built, it took most of the traffic away from Route 20. Now when you drive down the old highway, you will often see the remains of motels and cottages and once stately homes going to seed.
I can take it a step further and point out that during my travels I have noticed many communities that have structural carcasses in the form of old mills and factories that haunt their river banks like undernourished prisoners of war. That can't be blamed on the advent of the interstate highway system. We could blame the economic conditions or the politicians, but what I think is closer to the truth is the betrayal of American businesses by outsourcing their industries to foreign lands.
All of these changes that I have mentioned have become more and more prevalent as we struggle to get by during this economic downturn. I look forward to better days when the recession is behind us and we can afford, in finance and in wisdom, to have pride in our towns, our country, our world, and ourselves.