I’m fascinated by our country’s display of faith. Often in the most bizarre places one can see a cross, a church or a cross and a church. On the way back from Cincinnati I drove by this road and the cross caught my eye. I’m sure that’s what it’s there to accomplish. On the other side of this underpass is a church. To me this gave new meaning to a “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Archive for January, 2008
“I’m just watching the sun set. Some people might think I’m crazy because it’s too late, but I like watching it go all the way down. I’ll stay out here till my lips turn purple. Purple is my favorite color.”
I saw 11-year-old Emma Brooks on the side walk near a school on the west side of Cincinnati this weekend. I pulled my car off the road quickly and walked over to her shivering in the sub-zero temperature and asked if it was alright for me to sneak a few photographs. That’s when she told me why she was out there. It’s amazing what comes out of young children’s mouths.
“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendell Berry
A while back I visited The Wilds for an ongoing project I’m working on about the reclamation of coal mining land. The old strip mine was turned into a zoo-like conservation park. It’s an amazing site to see if not just because of the landscape. Strip mines, like their name says, strip the surface of the land, or top soil, and dig deep enough to get at the coal seam. When they’re done they leave fields of hard-packed clay behind. In the reclamation process they plant grasses. Trees won’t grow because they won’t take root in the hard clay. What results is grassland over rolling hills that stretch like a moving ocean into the horizon. It’s pretty; pretty bizarre.
I left the main building of the visitor’s center, where I neglected to buy stuffed zoo animals or elephant key chains, and then saw these soft drink vending machines on my way back to my car. It seemed like a reminder of the value we place on the natural world.
Death is treated strangely in modern society. After seeing this sign it made me think how bizarre it would be to be placed in a large plot of land surrounded by hundreds of other dead people only to have plastic flowers placed beside some piece of carved granite. What would the carving say?
Regardless, I remember being in the old city of Fes, Morocco, and all of a sudden a chanting group of men marched passed me holding a stretcher over their heads with a moving object covered in thin cloth. The object was a man who had recently died. They were soon going to the cemetery to bury him. Seeing the man’s body move as he was carried away was both frightening and enlightening. It seemed so much more natural to see the body this way before burial than to see it perfectly still, arranged and pumped full of the preserving chemical formaldehyde.