our pleasantest and wildest road
...Thoreau's Journal: 9-Mar-1852

The railroad men have now their hands full. I hear and see bluebirds, come with the warm wind. The sand is flowing in the Deep Cut. I am affected by the sight of the moist red sand or subsoil under the edge of the sandy bank, under the pitch pines. The railroad is perhaps our pleasantest and wildest road. It only makes deep cuts into and through the hills. On it are no houses or foot-travellers. The travel on it does not disturb me. The woods are left to hang over it. Though straight, is wild in its accompaniments. All is raw edges. Even the laborers on it are not like other laborers. Its houses, if any, are shanties, and its ruins the ruins of shanties, shells where the race that built the railroad dwelt, and the bones they gnawed lie about. I am cheered by the sound of running water now down the wooden troughs on each side the cut. Then it is the driest walking in wet weather, and the easiest in snowy. This road breaks the surface of the earth. Even the sight of smoke from the shanty excites me to-day. Already these puddles on the railroad, reflecting the pine woods, remind me of summer lakes.


michael jameson said...

one has to agree the railroad is one of our most picturesque accomplishments, it harms little, it does not take the mountain away but bores through it,the artist views it as part of the landscape and it hangs on many a wall, it is rich in history,these and many more can be said about it,long before we get to its actual use and what it does for man. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com

Wozza said...

Gosh he's an upbeat guy - even the puddles reflect pines and remind him of summer! Fantastic!