March 10, 2004

A Musing...

(Two words, not one, you are forewarned.)

One of the things that strikes you most about Ireland is how much the place actually resembles its postcards. This is surprising because with postcards you're always wondering what's cut out; they're visual epigrams, distillations of the picturesque, and you can almost feel the haphazard, functional, asymmetrical jumble of all the rest of it pushing at the edge of the frame, trying to knuckle its way in: high tension wires, concrete highway embankments, plastic grocery bags and tonic cans, all scattered along the side of the real road with its scenic overpass, and all very carefully edited out of the frame.

This is why, for the most part, Ireland's continual resemblance to its depictions is so very surprising --- sheep, check, stone wall, check, cottage, check, thatch, check, grass, green, blazingly bright as a sportscaster's jacket, check. Perhaps this is so continually surprising to Americans because we expect that only 5% or so of the actual scenery to look anything like what one thinks of as so representative --- white picket fence? Yes, but more often chain link. Long lone highway rolling on to infinity, stark red sandstone parapet reaching up to heaven like the earth crying out to God? Sure. There's a couple places in Nevada and New Mexico where you can see all that type of thing. Mostly, however, our highways run Target-Wall Mart-Barns & Noble-Sears-Applebee's-Mickey D's-car dealership-multiplex-office park. Repeat. For miles and miles, with the weather varying and the name and number of the fast food restaurants altering, adapting themselves to the minute variables of local consumer preference like the beaks of Galapagos birds. But, essentially, the same. That's what's so comforting about it.

Or perhaps its just seems so to me, a Northeasterner, a suburbanite. Out of prejudice and limited experience I form such firm opinions. But as the man said, in the long run we're all dead, and I've got to form my opinions out of something. Otherwise, no blog. And no conclusion to these fading trails of thoughts…

Posted by Diablevert at March 10, 2004 12:02 PM

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