Signs & Portents

Every trip tends to have its unique interests, but they all share certain qualities, too. One, for me, is the abundance of intriguing, useful, surprising, puzzling, inviting and sometimes downright amazing signs of all sorts that mark the way. Our summer road trip was chock full of them, too; many whizzed by too quickly at highway speed to be commemorated by me with my trusty little camera, but some served well to mark a few of the highlights and oddities of our pilgrimage west and back.

photo montage

Some signs made me wonder if we’d suddenly gone far astray from our intended route, to another state, country or (occasionally) planet. [Remember to click on the images if you want to see them in greater detail.]

photo montage

A few signs were rather provocative, and many simply amused me greatly for one reason or another.

photo montage

Vintage signs often outlive their original purposes by being moved–or read–out of context. Unless, perhaps, the message has a more cosmic meaning…

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Some of the most welcome signs are those very familiar ones not seen in a very long time. It doesn’t matter so much that I’ve frequented the place or embraced the item as that the sentimental landmark each represents of other persons and places is called to mind.

photo montage

I’m especially fond, though, of those signs that seem to have lives of their own, through age and adventures unknown. I like to imagine what they denote beyond their mere artful decorations and texts.

On this particular escapade of ours, all signs pointed to a grand tour and many colorful memories. And led me, of course, to think ahead to all of the travels and signs yet to come in my life.

11 thoughts on “Signs & Portents

  1. Awww… I literally got the chills when I saw the one with Paradise and Ohanapecosh, and Elbe/Mt. Rainier.
    Now you’ve got me all teary sitting here at work. I’d best go look at my mountain’s webcam and see how it’s doing (earlier this morning it was all cloudy.)

    • I think of beloved Rainier the way that my Dad’s great aunt was described (you can read about Auntie Ingeborg here: https://kiwsparks.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/you-have-a-lovely-forehead/): the ability to favor all others equally. She’s a magnanimous mountain that way, isn’t she! I’m SOOOO grateful we got to have a short visit.

      I take it you used to live quite close, and not so much so now? I was born in Seattle and lived all but a few years in Rainier’s shadow in Puyallup and Tacoma until we moved here to Texas (for Richard’s work) four years ago and love my every chance to return to the foot of the mountain!

      • Actually, I’ve never lived there, only visited. I never got the chance to live away from the midwest because my dad went to Chicago to Divinity School and then taught here in KC. We went back many times, and I try to get there every couple of years. Next year for sure! I have a cousin in Tacoma that I love to visit, too.
        I like your description of the mountain being magnanimous… I could tell you more, but it will wait.
        I did the first of probably several blog posts about Rainier last night. Hope you enjoy it!

        • You *knew* I’d enjoy your Rainier posts, of course. πŸ™‚ My next younger sister even climbed The Mountain when we were in college, and we had many expeditions like yours in the photos that bring warm memories, too. I just laugh every time people who haven’t been around Mt Rainier ask if we ever get jaded and blase about it! As if.

          Chicago and KC are great, too, of course. We lived outside Chicago for a couple of years when I was still in grade school, and *my* dad had done his internship at a church near there after going to seminary in MN, so I gather we have a few bits of history in common. πŸ™‚ I didn’t get to visit KC until I’d just graduated from HS, but was immediately smitten with the city and was thrilled when I got to return years later. Hope to visit again! Great people, great art, great food.

          It’ll be great if you get a chance to see your cousin in Tacoma again soon. If you haven’t been in a while, you might enjoy checking the museums, which are vastly upgraded from when I was growing up around there: the art museum and glass museum and history museum have all been built/upgraded in the last couple of decades, and the LeMay car museum, new in the last couple of years, is home to one of the biggest and strongest car collections anywhere; I haven’t gotten to see that one yet but have seen some of the LeMay collection elsewhere over the years and it’s pretty amazing, plus the building looks quite intriguing.

    • Yep, they play Mello Mello on the 27th. Christoffer Traedal is my nephew, and *if* you should get over there (or any friends do), tell him his aunt Kathryn said Hi. *That’ll* knock his socks off! Or embarrass him to pieces, also a worthwhile family endeavor! πŸ˜‰

  2. I can’t leave a comment under your last one to me, so I’ll tag on at the end. I did go to the Tacoma Art Museum last year, and on a previous trip went to the Museum of Glass. I also went to the new Dale Chihuly Museum next to the Space Needle, which was fantastic!
    KC isn’t so bad culturally, but there’s the problem of no mountains or ocean and the mid-west bible-belt stuff. I don’t think I could take Texas for any length of time at all, though, I’ve visited a few times. What a strange place πŸ™‚ Haven’t seen any of the cultural highlights, though.

  3. This reminds me of all the road trips we took when I was a kid … looking at license plates and road signs were such fun! A pity that today kids hardly even look out the window while they’re traveling. πŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: If You can Read This, You’re Already Contaminated | kiwsparks

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