March 26, 2010

Postcard: Automobile Road

Asheville, North Carolina
(Unused - divided back, early 1900's)

Many of us today take travel on Interstate Highways for granted. Few of today's travelers remember the days of traveling before there was a network of limited-access multilane highways crisscrossing the US. Although we all experience the frustration of traffic tie-ups and construction delays associated with Interstates, travel by road could – and has been – much worse.

The Interstate Highway System is the largest highway system in the world and the largest public works project in history. Officially, it is the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. The system is named for President Eisenhower who was instrumental it its formation by the federal government in 1956. The concept was not only to provide a road system for private and commercial transportation, but also key ground transport routes for military supplies and troops in case of an emergency or foreign invasion.

The completion of the Interstate System as originally planned occurred in 1992. Since then, work has continued to add bypasses, spurs, and new routes not part of the original plan. Besides accomplishing its initial goal of providing private, commercial, and military transportation, the system of roadways has also been used for evacuations in the event of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

When I-40 was completed in the 1980s to become a major highway linking the east and west coasts, a sign was erected near the start of the westbound section in Wilmington, North Carolina that read "Barstow, Calif. 2,554 mil." With the completion, Charles Kuralt lamented, "Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything."

The late Wilmington, North Carolina artist Claude Howell told stories of his family traveling by car in the 1920s from Wilmington to Asheville, North Carolina to visit relatives when he was young. Much of the trip was made over dirt roads using trees with painted marks to guide the way. The trip took 3 days to complete. Today, using I-40 to make the same trip to Asheville takes 6 hours.

— Dan Hardison

March 19, 2010

The After A While

There's a beautiful river, the After A While,
With travelers drifting away;
It flows through the country of Putting Things Off,
Till it broadens out into the bay.

Far down at the mouth of this slow-winding stream
Is the city of Never, I hear,
And those who would drift on the eddying tide
Must tie at its tumbledown pier.

So if you wouldn't go to the city I've named,
Don't ask me the "why" or the "how";
Just portage today, to the stream o'er the hill,
That turbulent river, the "Now"!

Stillman J. Elwell
From his book "Windows of Thought"

Photo by Dan Hardison
Brunswick Town, North Carolina

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March 12, 2010

Winter Weavings

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Photo: Wilmington, North Carolina

World Haiku Association, February 2010

March 5, 2010

Until Blooms Come

Stepping into morning
with air crisp and cold
and the wind sighing
through the trees.

Footsteps seem intrusive
in this wintry world
where not even bird
or animal stir.

I stand amidst a world
devoid of color and remember . . .
a time of warmth when
nature was at its fullest.

But not so today
for now, it is only a memory –
a fond remembrance until
blooms come again.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

Also available:
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