Friday, October 21, 2005

Of spaces

Go see New York, the city like no other. Go experience the quaintness of Boston. Go lose yourself in the clean and crooked streets of San Francisco. Go have fresh salmon in rainy Seattle. Go take an architecture tour of Chicago. And if you are so inclined, go spend a night in Vegas. Everything worth seeing has been seen. America has been done. Checkmark.

I tend to disagree. I love every one of the cities mentioned above other than Vegas which I absolutely abhor. But America is not the sum total of these cities and their suburbs put together. I am sure an argument could be made that if you really want to experience the soul of America, go South or go to the Midwest - way inside middle America is where you will find what you are looking for but who said anything about America's soul? As always, I am more interested in concrete things, the abstract never really worked for me. I am more interested in what I consider America's most precious wealth - her soil, her rocks, her water, her craters, her mountains, and her trees; I am more interested in the America that cannot be destroyed, only recreated.

And whatever people may tell you, counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike is nowhere close. Unless you have climbed down the crevices of the Grand Canyon, unless you have camped on a glacier at the Kenai Fjords, unless you have driven down Shenandoah Valley with John Denver on your radio, unless you have stopped by the woods of New Hampshire on a lovely fall evening, unless you have conquered the heights of the Yosemite half-dome, unless you have stood at a tree-trunk at Redwood forest and looked up, unless you have watched Mt Rainier and Crater Lake glistening in the sun, unless you have sat quietly in your campsite in Channel Islands waiting for the birds, unless you have hiked in the Smokies in spring, unless you have seen the wildflowers of June in the wild Rockies, unless you have been stuck in the tallest sand dune in Death Valley in the middle of a sandstorm, unless you have visited every one of the National Parks this beautiful country has to offer, you have not seen America at all.

Now go read this editorial and lament.

5 comments:

Sunil said...

hear, hear. It is a travesty that so much is being lost, and i don't know what's being gained.

I newest resolution is to see all national parks in the us in the next 3-4 years (before they're destroyed).

I've a long way to go.....since i've only seen the olympics, cascades, rainier, baker, helens, grand canyon, crater lake and a few more.

A few dozen to go, and very little vacation time left :-((

Falstaff said...

Nice. Is it absolutely essential to listen to John Denver (wince!) while driving through Shenandoah though?

Veena said...

Sunil: Similar resolution here too and yes, too little vacation time. Though I must say you students can't really complain abt little vacation time!

Falstaff: To tell you the truth, the only reason I even thought of John Denver was because of you. I had just read a post on your blog where you were taking a dig at him and soon after, when I was typing this post, I was reminded of country roads, take me home. :) Your fault.

Falstaff said...

That's right. Blame me for everything. Think you should stop spending so much time with MR! You're picking up her bad habits now.

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