Friday, August 03, 2007

The Journey is Our Home

Yesterday we left our house with the sun. Friends picked us up in the Christian Peacemaker Teams car, and we headed west for Chicago. Rebecca and Doug had meetings at the Chicago offices of CPT; we plan to attend a spiritual gathering on the subject of Mato Paha, the great sacred mountain of the Western Plains.

We had a long drive ahead of us for this first day: from Toronto through Chicago to Beloit in Wisconsin. Fortunately, our friends took turns with the driving, allowing me to catch up on sleep that the trip preparations had given me no time for. We took our friends to lunch in Ann Arbor at Zola's cafe, and treated them to the best waffles on this mortal Earth. Then we hit the road again, through the hills of southern Michigan and the northern Indiana, through the dark and slag-scarred mills of Gary Indiana, and so to the CPT American office on Chicago's West Side. There we rested and had dinner.

Whenever I see it, the scale of the American industrial landscape impresses me; where other cities have a lifting railway bridge, Chicago has a row of lifting bridges. The use of steel in places like Chicago also impresses me; where in Toronto we tend to build in square forms that have a spare functional beauty, American designers use more decoration, shaping even objects such as bridge supports into decorative shapes which look to me like tulip bulbs, and weaving decorations into bridge railings.

After dinner, and after leaving our friends behind, we headed west for the final phase of the day's journey: the trip to Beloit Wisconsin. We followed I-90 out of Chicago to Rockford, where crews repairing up the road reduced traffic to a monumentally frustrating crawl. And so to the inn and bed after a long day, a long leap at the start of our journey.

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