Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home of the Big Gulp

Someone's thirsty
Minneapolis, MN, February 2011
[Please click here for more Thematic oneness]

I'm a huge fan of water towers, yet I don't think I really understand why. Maybe it's because they connect us to a time that no longer exists. Perhaps it's because of the way they loom like beacons over otherwise empty landscapes, signposts for long-distance travelers in a nearly forgotten age before GPS.

When my parents would pop us into the station wagon to visit family in faraway places, I remember staring out the window and watching for familiar landmarks along the way. Bridges, buildings, mountains, restaurants and, yes, water towers all told me just how many more miles we had to go, and whether I risked missing anything by nodding off. It's different today, as we drive with enough technology to calculate our position to the closest meter.

I'm not entirely convinced it's a better way to go, though, as there was a certain magic in the air when one of these things emerged from the murky sky and cast a shadow over our passing car, the faded name of some small town half-painted, half-baked on its rusting reservoir. Even if we were still far from our destination, or home, it made me feel just a little better to know where we were.

So when the adult me stares up at what some might view as a relic of a bygone era, I can't help but remember what it felt like so long ago. It's somewhat humbling. Comforting, too.

Your turn: What things, when you see them, trigger memories from long ago?


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Before the 405 frwy was built we would go thru West Hollywood to get to the valley where my relatives lived.. At night we would pass the huge lit up cross on the hill... For me its a landmark.. My grandpa would drive us thru there every time.. I hope its still there, though now w/all the massive buildings its probably hidden...My grandma use to tell us it was the cross Jesus was on...and when u are little sometimes a metaphor is literal... Now that I am older, the cross was obviously a landmark for a church... But at the time, it was magical and full of truth since my grandma said so.. :-)

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm not entirely convinced it's a better way to go...

I have to admit that I enjoy not getting lost in strange cities all the time.

Bob Scotney said...

We don't see water towers in the UK. They always catch my eye in the USA especially the ones sporting the name of a town.

Pearl said...

Barns. I love being on the road somewhere and seeing a barn. :-)


Anonymous said...

Carmi, I love water towers, too. I even posted a collection of photos of them on my old blog: