Excursion 6, Part 5 (A Barn Doomed to Disappointment)

In which our intrepid hero is reminded that the world is always changing…

It’s amazing how very different we can feel depending on whether or not we are going somewhere or returning from somewhere.  The leaving is filled with expectation—hopefully a happy, excited sort of expectation, but we all know we sometimes leave towards destinations we dread.  The return, though, is usually completely different.  Sometimes we are simply anxious to get home and it doesn’t even matter what is around us—we have only that one thought in mind:  GET HOME.  Sometimes we are more relaxed about it and can enjoy the journey, understanding that at its end is the comfort and familiarity of home.  I remember once, when I was in high school, returning home in the darkness from some interminable bus ride from somewhere in west Texas.  I had a Walkman with me and was playing Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park.  When the song “Homeward Bound” played, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  As I’ve grown older (and am now pretty close to the half century mark), the song has only become more powerful to me and if I ever hear it while I am coming back from a long trip I get quite melancholic.

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Excursion 6, Part 4 (The Return of the Urn)

In which our intrepid hero re-encounters a persistent mystery…

An interesting thing happened to me the other day.  I was going on another excursion and had to pass through the town of Coshocton, Ohio, which happens to be a town in which I spent some time on this excursion as well (see Excursion 6, Part 3 as well as this post).  I passed through Coshocton from a different direction and for a different purpose, and yet somehow the choices that I made in terms of streets to turn on managed to take me past the same old industrial buildings I had seen on my first trip and past the same urns (see below) I had passed by on my first trip.  Although completely unintentionally, my brain had decided to take me on the same turns and I ended up in the same places.  It occurs to me that this is a useful analogy to our own lives:  all too frequently we think we are starting anew, but we end up back in the same old spots, despite all intentions.

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Excursion 6, Part 3 (Builders of Special Machinery)

In which our intrepid hero comes across a graveyard of industry…

It is my opinion that travel is infinitely better when you are in control of the travel.  I hate being a passenger, whether in a bus, tax, train or plane.  I don’t like not being able to make decisions, I don’t like not being able to choose my travel companions, I don’t like looking out the side of something, as opposed to looking out the front.  When I was a kid, I did not like long trips at all—and why should I have liked them, stuck in the back seat for hours.  But put me behind the wheel of a car and it is very different.  Then, even when I am still not the master of my fate it still seems as if I have a role to play.  Give me a traffic jam over a long runway wait any old day of the week.

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Excursion 6, Part 2 (The Deception of Distance)

In which our intrepid hero encounters dead trees, dead cars and dead buildings…

One of the most interesting things about taking back-country drives is that the scale of everything changes.  The distance scale, for example, grows enormously.  Ohio is a relatively small state, and I am centrally located within it, so theoretically I can reach even the most distant parts of the state in three and a half hours.  But that is making a bee-line on a highway.  Once you start driving on curvy, back-country roads, especially driving relatively slowly to spot potential subjects for photographs (and stopping on occasion to actually take them), 20 miles somehow becomes a great distant, not a short jaunt.  Sixty miles is a huge distance.  On the other hand, the time scale slows down.  Because you are in no particular hurry, and paying attention to your surroundings rather than the clock, time passes quickly for you.  The combination of these two means that you can spend many, many hours in a vehicle and discover that you have really never driven more than 60 miles away from your starting point (though your total mileage may be much greater).

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Excursion 6, Part 1 (Passing Through Linden)

In which our intrepid hero drives on Cleveland rather than to it…

My sixth excursion was a trip primarily in northeast central Ohio.  Rather than take the quick way out of town, I deliberately headed north out of Columbus on Cleveland Avenue, so that I could take some pictures of Linden on the way out.  Linden (a neighborhood in Columbus, divided into North Linden and South Linden) is considered one of the “worst” areas of Columbus (“the Bottoms” in Franklinton is right up there, too).  South Linden is considered worse.  Income levels are about half of the Columbus average and crime is higher, too.  Cleveland Avenue is the main “drag” that passes north through and bisects Linden.  One can readily see signs of blight driving up Cleveland Avenue.  There have been various attempts to reinvigorate Linden, especially South Linden, but they have had mixed success at best.  And yet, it is important to note that “blight” is relative.  Let me illustrate what I mean.

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