Friday, May 21, 2010

Notes From a Not-Yet-Summer Day.

In the mid-80's here in New York and New England. I spent the day in Great Barrington, Massachusetts where I once saw the most original pro-war protest sign ever devised: "Make Bombs, Not Tofu." Not sure if the guy was serious, but he sure was memorable. I think of him every time I drive over the bridge and turn right onto Main Street.

[Left: Dog, Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA]

Driving home through Pittsfield is a tour of abandoned malls and storefronts. Much of New England is like this. When the rest of the world thinks of New England, it is usually of church spires poking out of a think canopy of trees, bubbling streams, rolling farm fields, vineyards, and covered wooden bridges. And while those places to exist, and are indeed beautiful, most of the cities of New England are past their prime. The photographer in me is drawn to the outdated storefronts and abandoned strip malls of Pittsfield. Driving through the outskirts of the city is like urban exploration by car. Maybe the 30 year old signage reminds me of what the world was like when I was a kid? Maybe it's because I see beauty in abandoned and forgotten places? Maybe it's because anything empty or forgotten is an anomaly in our overdeveloped world? Whatever it is, there, I find a strange sense of Zen in such places.

I truly enjoy days like today when I have nothing to do but road trip around the Northeast. My daughter watches a cartoon where one of the main character's catch phrase is: "The more places you go, the more things you know." Couldn't agree more.

[Above] The Drag Strip at Lebanon Valley Speedway, Lebanon Valley, New York

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