The Glow Of Forgotten Grandeur

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They were two impressive leather chairs, languishing in shadows where the stairway twisted between floors in an elderly Montana hotel. Adjacent to them, sharing royal red and gold carpet, an upright piano waited for a song.

Their town is small, set amid historic and geographic hot spots; you have to want to be there, and there were few guests the night I stayed. No one ran their hands over the smooth, time-worn arms, no modern bottoms felt the deep satisfaction of sinking into the cushions. The piano remained silent.

But, for a few precise moments, as evening peered through a tall window and I paused in the hallway, the glow of forgotten grandeur reappeared, and history sang softly in my ear.

Spring In England

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In late April and early May, it is indeed easy to be green in England. There’s so much to see—curious lambs, bluebells blooming, sparkling rivers, fence stiles, country pubs, deep woods, wonderful fell views, The Lakes, ancient stone buildings, all of it seemingly divided by countless dry stone walls.

The photo gallery below barely touches on the possibilities. These were taken along the Dales Way, a fine 81-mile path from Ilkley to Bowness, on Lake Windermere. For the best information on walking in Great Britian, I recommend The Walking Englishman.

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises. —Pedro Calderon de la Barca

The Magic Of Steam Locomotives

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The magic of steam locomotives is kept alive in many places, and none are more accessible than the Nevada Northern Railway in Ely, Nevada. Your ticket to the museum includes the grounds and the shops, where you’re (mostly) free to roam, and imagine, as I did in September.

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Another English Mystery

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In the delightful North Yorkshire market town of Grassington, yet another question without answers.

The only mystery in life is why the
kamikaze pilots wore helmets.
—Al McGuire

The Lens Of History

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Ruins of Cook Bank building, Rhyolite, Nevada

 

“I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
—Thomas Jefferson

The Good Old Days

“The reason people blame things on the previous generation is that there’s only one other choice.” —Doug Larson

The good old days. They’re most always described in the past tense, remembered as a period when life and its prospects were better than at any time since. (Things were made better, too, no doubt about that.) 

Seligman, Arizona, a couple of miles off the Interstate on old Route 66, is the perfect place to stoke romantic memories of times gone by, and when Ulrich and I descended from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim we had a reservation waiting there at the Supai Motel. The sun was gone when we pulled in but the sky still held a trace of dark blue, and the town’s neon signs (those still working) glowed like gaudy holiday lights.

After dinner we walked the deserted sidewalks while long freight trains rumbled by regularly in the dark a block away. Pools of light cast by sodium vapor lights were, for once, an ally, revealing subjects easily overlooked among dense shadows. 

As I drifted towards sleep later in my motel room I imagined the parade of itinerant travelers who came this way, carrying hopes and whatever would fit in their cars and trucks, on the roadway not thirty feet from my bed. Of the hopes and hardships defining their lives. How little we truly know of history, until we eventually pass this way again.

“As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”  —Woody Guthrie