Friday, December 20, 2013

Still, Still at 1371


The little town of Lennep, MT lies at MP 1371.1, almost 1400 miles from the bustle of downtown Chicago along the Western Extension of the Milwaukee Road.  Lennep has appeared in these pages before, albeit under different skies.  On this day in 2003, the sun is baking the small town under high blue skies while the grasses crisp in the dry Montana summer months.  

The Lutheran church still stands in Lennep, along with a small collection of other buildings and homes.  Though the railroad is gone, the old station sign has been saved and the Milwaukee font is unmistakable. Behind the camera one of Milwaukee's Type R signals remains standing as well - with that blank stare that is so common.  Lennep was, and is, a quiet place out on Lines West.  

Tracking the Milwaukee Road westbound visits places where we've been, but no longer wish to go.  The country has a different soul in these places:  Twitter seems unimportant, 24 hour NFL coverage seems excessive, and fights in Walmart parking lots are somehow unfathomable.  Maybe it is the big skies that put everything in perspective?  Perhaps the shadow of history has helped create a lasting stillness?  For whatever the reason, these places are different and it's not all bad.  

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