The road carries us out of the city, away from the garbage, the crowds, the harsh and thick buildings More
Today we took off from Chicago, heading out to Des Moines by car. It was a great day for driving. I absolutely love looking at Iowa farm fields. The terrain and the speed create scenes that are hypnotizing. The textures, the forms, the colors. . . wow!
The suburbs sustain their own landscape aesthetic, different from that of the city or country. Whenever I visit my brother, who lives in a sweet subdivision in Palatine, I realize how much I crave those expanses of lawn and the calming sight of manicured bushes and sheltering trees. Like many city-dwellers, I grew up in the suburbs, a habitat I nostalgically associate with order and peace.
Three years ago, the South Pond, one of the ponds in Lincoln Park (just south of the children’s zoo), was renovated. The pond was emptied. Its bottom and banks were regraded, new boardwalks were built, new plantings put in. The pond had fallen into sluggishness and disuse.
The revitalization has been a great popular success. Its appearance has been changing dramatically from one season to the next, as the new plantings have grown in.
This is what it looked like the other day, as I rode by on the bus. Of the three ponds near my home, this one is the farthest, so I’m not able to visit it easily, though I wish I could.
There was a time when I crossed Massachusetts often by train. When passing through the western part of the state and admiring its rugged yet picturesque scenery, I would promise myself to visit it one day.
Finally, today, the occasion came. Twilight found us in the Berkshires, where it treated us to this splendid sight.
More restful than the most luxurious spa are the ordinary hotels of some Massachusetts towns. Many sit on large tracts of land, with mature trees and perennial beds, lawns mown with the precision devoted to baseball fields.
A morning stint by the pool might include the songs of real birds or a turtle-sighting. Precisely because the hotel’s interior contains little of interest, it is relaxing to inhabit. There is little stimulation, little to provoke thought, setting the mind at ease.
The hotel is a silent community, where the density that might produce bustle or camaraderie neutralizes and separates. Repetition tranquilizes and subdues. Occasionally a guest will appear on one of the lawn chairs or balconies, to gaze out at the still and empty scene.
A rest here of a night or two will drive a body off, in quest of clamor.
My route home was dotted with many such scenes. I love the building types that are peculiar to the country. The silos, balloon-frame houses, old barns collapsing. Corn cribs now rare. A cluster of forms that spells work and home, all in one.
Click image to enlarge.