A School in the Hills

A prominent hill in a small rural town is the site of a former military academy turned private boarding school. As it is surrounded by a quiet subdivision, we decided to get there before sunrise. In the dishwater gray predawn light, we trudged along a sleeping lane until we reached a cul-de-sac, then pushed through … Continue reading A School in the Hills

American Palaces

Theater opulence reached its zenith in the early part of the last century. The boom in motion pictures, which quickly became the prime form of entertainment for the masses, coupled with the trend of studios owning their own theaters which they strove to make as lavish as possible in order to attract patrons, created this … Continue reading American Palaces

My Olde Pal Gary

Most people have heard of Gary, Indiana. The town had a mid-century burst of fame in “The Music Man” in which it features in an eponymous song. A few decades later it achieved notoriety for a very different reason, being the country’s murder capital for a while in the 80’s. It has been synonymous with … Continue reading My Olde Pal Gary

Crooked River County

American rust belt metropolises are urban nebulae of sorts. The city cores grew and expanded furiously in the 19th and early 20th centuries, fed by the heavy industries of the time. But just as stars run out of fuel, so too steel, mining, and manufacturing left these cities. In the span of a generation, population … Continue reading Crooked River County

Goodnight, Pripyat

I’m fascinated by a scenario where future generations come across the Exclusion Zone, without knowing the nature of what it is or was. (This, of course, assumes some kind of cataclysm that destroys much of our historical record.) What would they make of the what was left behind? Of the vehicles and structures, perhaps still … Continue reading Goodnight, Pripyat

Reverie in Blue

Whatever you may think of meditation, you might be surprised to know that almost everyone does some form of it at some point in their life. It may bring up images of yogis sitting crosslegged on mountaintops, but all meditation is, in essence, is bringing a calm but steady focus and concentration to a task. … Continue reading Reverie in Blue

Of Rust and Rail

The Yaniv train station outside Pripyat isn’t very impressive. If you follow some rails into the woods, however, you’ll soon be greeted by the sight of railcars and locomotives rusting away among the pines. Since some of them are quite radioactive, they were allegedly derailed intentionally in order to permanently strand them in the Exclusion … Continue reading Of Rust and Rail