Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The View From The Arch

I had a few minutes to spend today so I made a small detour from my hotel and went out to the St Louis Arch.

I made a quick pass throughout the museum and bought my ticket to ride the "tram" to the top. This tram ride is worth a story in and of itself, but I will let the reader experience it on his/her own.

Upon arriving at the top and climbing the last set of stairs, I found myself 630 feet above the ground and Looking out over the city of St Louis on one side and The Mississippi River and Illinois on the other.

On one of the plaques there was a quote from the designer of the Arch, Eero Saarinen. "From the summit, the public could confront the magnificent river."

With that thought, all the ideas from the museum 630 feet below me focusing on the westward expansion of the United States, and the sight of the "Huck Finn" riverboat below- I seemed to sense a coming together of time.

I thought of my predecessors. I don't know if they ever came through St Louis, but I know they had to cross the Mississippi River at some time. I know they came by wagon, hand cart, or train. I know they traveled at speeds much slower than I do now. I knwo that even after traveling by those means - they were traveling to nothing. No home to buy but one to build. No food to buy but crops to grow. No life quaranteed but survival required.

Would I have been one of those people? Would I be brave enough to travel into an unknown wilderness? Would I be willing to carve a home out of nothing? Could I even figure out how to cross the River???!

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