Wednesday, July 28, 2010

As I type my letters, I can't help but feel as though I am afforded a view across 2 centuries. First, I can send this letter in via my iphone, but hitting keys one at a time is a bit nervre raking and reminds me of a telagraph. Second, I have noticed that because of our modern technology, mainly cell phones and internet access, I don't usually see dimensional space. I can call my friends in Ireland at any time and distances seem irrelevant. Well on a bicycle, that is not true. Time and distance are related. I know firsthand. I am afforded views in my immediate vacinity and maybe a short distance away, but I must plan my movement and gauge it accordingly. I plan not only what I want to do, but how long it will take me to get there.

Moving out of Dunkirk was relatively easy this morning and traveling along the route with a wide shoulder was very nice indeed. Moving up through Orchard Park, I came upon an old depot and steam locomotive. The depot was actually turned into a model train shop and I stopped in to talk to the owner. He told me the lines right outside his door run into Buffalo. In 1860, the route would have ended at the Exchange Street Depot but today I believe it is a Amtrak stop. The massive locomotive sits dormant next to the small house and strangely enough, was built in Russia during the early days of the Soviet revolution. The Pennsylvania Railroad bought a surplus of these and this one remains. I was ironically reminded of Lincoln's comment about despotism and czarist Russia. It was rather strange as I first thought this train was what Lincoln might have had to pull his inaugural train only to find out it was made in Russia.

I did happen to also see the site in downtown Buffalo of the First Unitarian Church where Lincoln visited as a guest of Millard Fillmore before he left for Washington. This historic location sits in the middle of a busy intersection and oddly enough seems to fit in. Getting around the city was not too difficult via bicycle but leaving the urban center heading north is rather busy. Like all good size cities, the transition areas to the countryside are becoming our new 'urban/sub urban' cities. I can see from my travels, a clash of two cultures trying to work out their boundaries-Nature preserves and bike lanes and wider carlanes and more entrance ramps. Sort of like two centuries striving to inhabit the same space simultaneously.

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