"The real voyage of Discovery lies not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes"
Marcel Proust

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Funeral Train

This past week I was in Springfield, Illinois-- brought home by the passing of my grandmother. Each day as my mother and I made our daily trips through downtown, coming home from a day of  packing memories into boxes at my grandmother's apartment, I passed the train station where Abraham Lincoln's body was brought back to Springfield.  Today it is the Amtrak station and rush hour traffic disregards the famous depot where on May 3, 1865, his friends gathered to say their tearful farewell to him. The railway tracks along I-55 are perhaps just as casually and unintentionally forgotten as a place of such historical significance-- seen as a commuter railway from Chicago to Springfield rather than a famous funeral route in US history. This week I also read an article sent to me by Bill Kemp, a librarian from the McLean County Museum of History, which details that train ride home. Kemp wrote of funeral arches that spanned the railroad tracks..."The Bloomington arch carried the message, "Go to thy rest," while the town of Lincoln's read, "With malice to none, with charity for all," and the one in Williamsville, "He has fulfilled his mission." Thanks, Bill, for those incredible images that decorate our vision and bring an emotional attachment to those steel rails!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Walt Bodine Show - Driving Across Missouri and Kansas

The Walt Bodine Show - Driving Across Missouri and Kansas
Here's an interview Ted and I did last spring for our book on I-70 through Missouri. We were honored to be on NPR, but after realizing that over a million people (ok, at least more than 10) could be listening, we got pretty nervous. It was a great time, though, and the staff was very friendly. After being prepped on how to correctly cough on radio (hit the silent button), we were shuttled down the hall into a tiny recording studio.  They dressed us up with super-huge headsets--artificial ears through which we heard ourselves talk, placed a huge microphone in front of us and asked us politely not to move over an inch for the next hour. I failed at one point, and a guy came out and adjusted mine back in front of my face (all while the audience had no clue)-- ah the secret joy of radio faux pas. This pose was difficult for an Italian woman who needs to talk with her hands and for one who needs smiling reassurance. Because I couldn't turn, I could only see Ted out of the corner of my eye and wondered if his face was full of bewilderment, embarrassment, glee, or fascination while I was answering questions. This was definitely a highlight during our I-70 journey!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Interpreting the highway

Ted and I are both involved in the field of Interpretation, an informational and inspirational process designed to enhance understanding, appreciation, and protection of our cultural and natural legacy. We both teach interpretive training courses at universities and we are both Certified Interpretive Trainers through the National Association for Interpretation. We hope to encourage and inspire those who want to work in nature centers, state and national parks, wildlife refuges, historical sites, and museums. People interpret poetry, art, and the world around them through their own eyes and experiences. As interpreters we hope to heighten that process by helping people combine that emotional connection with an intellectual one. Now we've taken interpretation to the road!

Interpretation gives highway travelers the ability to perceive and understand the beauty along the roadsides. Through interpretation people can understand and appreciate the beauty in grasses or grainfields, in marshes or meadows. Interpretation may reveal the beauty of courageous or sacrificial acts that took place along the route or the beauty in the utility of a piece of farm machinery. Moreover, interpretation instills in people the desire to experience even more beauty in their travels, and indeed in their lives.