Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 15: Perspective

I love to pore over topo maps, trying to visualize the three-dimensional reality on the ground of the two-dimensional symbols on a piece of paper. I thought of the experience of map-reading this morning as we flew into Atlanta. With clear sunny skies, I could see every building and topographical feature below, with the skyscrapers of the city center looming on the horizon. I entertained myself in trying to decipher what I was looking down on. A gravel pit was an easy one, but what was that bare hill, almost a butte, that looked like it had been scraped off for some reason? For that matter, what was the black mound sided with what looked like solar panels? It being Sunday and the South, the large building surrounded by cars and what might be construed as a steeple had to be a church. The big flat institutional building with fields and an oval track out back was clearly a school. Sewage treatment plants are fairly easy to pick out. The intricate streets of all the housing developments, lined with big look-a-like houses, fascinated me. Some had pools and tennis courts, some didn't. If I had to live in that one there, I decided, I'd be in that house at the end of that cul de sac surrounded by woods. Not near the pool, but quieter, less crammed in. Some developments were separated from obvious construction sites/gravel pits by just a fringe of trees. I wondered if you noticed the proximity if you lived there. Just before the airport, we flew low over several industrial buildings with rows of semi trailers backed up to loading docks, then a post office with a lot full of identical mail trucks. Then a patch of raw red earth--future runway space?--and then we touched down.

From air, perspective:
all those lives below, people
filling the landscape.

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