Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wood, trains and journeys

Wooden seats may not be as comfortable as padded ones, but don't these look inviting? Wood is regarded in many cultures as omnipotent. Recent scientific research in Italy is developing wood as a replacement for bone. It's an amazing substance that can be bent, cut or shaped and we grow 10 billion tons of it per year. In ancient Greek, hyle is the word for primordial matter but it also means wood. This is part of a Turin rack railway. It climbs a steep slope from Sasse to Superga where a lovely basilica looks out over Turin. We often dream of stations in dreams and this coach is in on the departure platform. In the unconscious this may indicate a new venture or a range of possibilities but few people dream of arrival platforms! Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour." (Virginibus Puerisque, 1881:) The journey is the thing, because when I make this trip I usually meet someone of interest and I always learn something. I take photographs on the way, but they come out differently each trip. Plastic and synthetic fabrics may be easier to maintain, but for preference, I like to make this journey on wood.