Thursday, October 01, 2009

Kingdom of Idols

In the shadows of the old U.S. 2 lane highway, a portion of the Milwaukee Road's Lines West sits basking in the hot summer sun. The nights are frigid here, but the days are hot and dry.

In many places, it seems one could simply relay the rails of America's final transcon. At Cyr, however, this bridge over the Clark Fork River is gone. One of the victims of the scrappers and the bankruptcy of days past.

The thoughtful quiet of Cyr pales in comparison to some of the remote sections of the Rocky Mountain division. Although US 10 has been relegated to a service road, its replacement is not far away. A few hundred feet to the south, just out of eyeshot but never out of earshot, lies the modern transcon: I-90. While in many ways a symbol of American success and personal freedom, it remains a reminder of the price of the Milwaukee's failure. The continuous noise of all season radials on concrete echo along the Clark Fork River while the best engineered railroad to the West sits as a historical marker.

The idols of the ages change from time to time, but it's not hard to determine what they are. We rest in one of entitlement and gratification, one that quickly moves beyond past accomplishments for which we have no personal use. Our current idols have plotted an interesting course that is just now coming into clearer focus. The destination does not always seem appetizing, but the howl of radials along the Clark Fork remind us of its coming.

1 comment:

Oil-Electric said...

As I pondered the image of the bridge pier, the similarity to the monoliths of Easter Island flashed through my mind. Perhaps they share the same odyssey.