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Monday, February 13, 2012

Examining Our Urban Routes

[Norma photo]
The subject of urban psychology was opened in a previous essay, "Fear And Love Of Cities" (this blog, 1-19-10), and received no feedback except from Anonymous, which I didn't print. One must always be careful to avoid becoming a victim of Anonymous's admiration. But the essay offered some general background on cities --a subject that was shelved until a proper visual aid was available. The map is ready. Although to some it is only a mat of surface roots, it does reward closer inspection.

The map represents a project of 20 year's duration, completed in the back yard with minimal attendance. As you can see, it is solid maple. Only labor involved in its construction was tearing it out of a lawn with a tractor and leaning it against the pumphouse wall. The maple tree played a major role but it was finished by the elements. It is what nature thinks cities look like and it is universally accurate.

There is a grid of streets. It may not look very orderly but, because we are creatures of nature, is exactly what one's mind sees a moment after consulting any city map --a phenomenon that no Haussmannesque geometric renovation has been able to disturb. In its center is always a town square with a pedestal, upon which is inscribed the town motto: "Nouveaux hauts de chaussure ! Vraiment nous sommes les favoris de Providence." Or, if one is not in Paris, "New shoe uppers! Truly we are the favorites of Providence."

For some distance around the central square one finds city-people. They consist of business-owners who work for everybody and everybody, who works for the business-owners. There is also a smattering of public servants who work for everybody else. Together, they fill the interior grid. However, if one ventures to the map's rural outskirts, one finds farm wagons full of fusty rustics racketing down the road. This may be an oversimplification but I have always wanted to write a sentence with fusty rustics in it.


  1. I live among a lot of fusty rustics. And I couldn't agree more.

  2. Thanks Austan. Thought of them because I had to get up early today. Rustics are out early, or maybe no one ever brings them in.

  3. Hmmm... does living in the fusty rustics make you a fusty rustic? There's probably a good reason I don't socialize.

  4. Yes.

    But remember maple map makers seldom socialize either.


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