Monday, April 18, 2016

1939

Every so often I am confronted with an image that causes me to lean back in my chair and contemplate a place or a time far different from the one I currently occupy. I don’t know what, specifically, catches my eye and why it evokes such a reaction for it’s a pretty eclectic mix, but it happens.

A few days ago just such an image appeared in a friend’s Facebook post. 

1939

Taken back in 1939, this is a photo of two streamliners running side by side while traversing the Thomas Viaduct on a run between Baltimore and Washington. The train on the left is the Coronation Scot, a British passenger train on a publicity tour of the US, and the one on the right is B&O’s Royal Blue.

While stunning in their own right, this picture represents more than just a couple of very photogenic trains on a Roman-inspired bridge. At the time the world had spent nearly ten years living under the brutal constraints of a punishing depression and facing, with increasing certainty, a European war that would eventually become global. It was a tough spot to be in – “a rock and a hard place” doesn’t seem to do it justice. Yet for all that people still found a way to live and innovate and be optimistic and create beautiful things.

Not a bad lesson I think.

5 comments:

  1. Agree with Trobairitz about the image, I'm a sucker for the old streamliners anyway.

    Not a bad lesson indeed.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. Modern engines look so pedestrian in comparison. Blech.

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  2. Every era has its blight of challenges. After the convulsion and revulsion of two world wars and a punishing depression, the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's were, in context, blissful carefree times. Now we live in a time of growing uncertainty and isolated but incredibly brutal random violence. Prosperity, peace, and hope are slowly being displaced by weak economies and insular reactionary nationalism.

    There's only one thing for it. Ride, be happy, and resist the temptation of supporting simpleton mean-spirited political ideals.

    That's my plan.

    ReplyDelete

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