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By Kent C. Ryden

Mapping the Invisible panorama: Folklore, Writing, and the feel of position (American Land & existence)

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Extra info for Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (American Land & Life)

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It must have been brought here from elsewhere, as I see no other rocks around which match its pinkish granite. If this roughly carved, deliberately planted artifact isn't in fact some sort of border marker, I muse, I'd like to think it is. I sit on another nearby rock, lean close to measure, sketch, and photograph the post. It has lichen growing on it and is closely surrounded by small vines and other weedy roadside plants. (To my immediate chagrin, some of the plants have thorns on them; to my later, and much greater, chagrin, it becomes clear the next day that I wasn't careful Page 12 Figure 4.

It encapsulates a depth of geographical meaning and suggestion that nothing else in this landscape does. With the rest of the signs and markers along this stretch of road, it forms a palimpsest: a layered accumulation, with each new layer erasing and obscuring the last, of man-made frontier-announcing artifacts, of implied landscapes, of attitudes toward travel, of the unremarkable everyday history of this spot on the border. The new blue signs point toward the future (as boosters always do), toward the geographical impressions they hope travelers will form and take away with them.

Route 101 is also known as the Hartford Pike, a link in the most direct route between Providence and Hartford; although it is a rural two-lane highway, then, it carries a fairly large amount of traffic at 40 to 50 miles per hour. People in vehicles moving this fast, sometimes following or followed closely by others, certainly could not read a small finger sign telling them they are entering Foster or Killingly; driving by at speed later in the day, I barely feel comfortable pulling my eyes from the road to pick out the sign at all.

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