Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Road Less Travelled

I recently stumbled across this picture. It is a picture of my dad. It is a great picture (I am not sure if the white Fifth Avenue perfects it or ruins it). For some reason the image as whole speaks deeply to my identity. A day later I came across this quote,

Road: a strip of ground over which one walks. A highway differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another. A highway has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects. A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop.
Before roads disappeared from the landscape, they had disappeared from the human soul: man had stopped wanting to walk, to walk on his own feet and enjoy it. What's more, he no longer saw his own life as a road but as a highway: a line that led from one point to another. Time became a mere obstacle to life, an obstacle that had to be overcome by ever greater speed.
Road and highway; these are also two different concepts of beauty.
In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty.
In the world of roads and paths, beauty is continuous and constantly changing; it tell us at every moment: "Stop!"

This picture offers testimony to the road and more importantly to sacredness of space. It pulls me in through and past my father. The horizon absorbs me (and everything else) unflinchingly into its endless space and yet it still offers itself pouring back over the gaze.


Dave said...

Hey Dave. Glad to see you are keeping sharp. I have been doing some reading on the (philosophical) concept of place and space. I am reading Edward Casey's Getting Back into Place: Toward a New Understanding of the Place-World. So far he has been trying to argue against the primacy of Time in western thought and for the predominance of place. I have a modest stack of books on place that I want to have a look at before the summer is through. This stuff puts me in mind of some of the stuff you talk about and have written about. A former professor is working on a book on the theology of place (especially in the Pentateuch)--great stuff!

Unknown said...

Sacredness and Space in the Pent. would likely have been a strong direction in my studies. Who is the person writing on this?

pxpaulx said...

Dave, I love the photo. From the perspective of a relatively noob amateur photographer, it gives me the feeling that it was deliberate. That on that day, they made sure to take that photograph, that it wasn't just snapped and forgotten. Less is more in an almost forgotten analog age.

Oh, and hey, how is it going?!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment Paul. Things are well. The picture does look extremely intentional. I am pretty sure my grandma took it as she used to roam the countryside stopping to talk and take pictures of her kids and grandkids. Even the lines on the car draw you down the road ahead of it. I like this picture more and more all the time.