Oddity of the Week: Autumn on the Wissahickon

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Ah, autumn. The fresh scent of fall makes us nostalgic.

Oddity of the Week: Autumn on the Wissahickon

Autumn on the Wissahickon.

Nothing odd about this scene of a man fishing along the banks of Wissahickon Creek in Pennsylvania on a perfect fall day. Nothing, of course, except for the total lack on carparks, telephone poles, or jet contrails to mar the idyll.

Life was slower in 1880. People took their time. Think about it: there wasn't a major war on, the threat level wasn't orange, or purple, or any other odd shade of the rainbow. In fact, the only colours to be thinking about were the ones on the trees. A fellow could ruminate to his heart's content while waiting for an unwary fish to swim by.

We're grateful to the people who captured this moment for us: WR Hallowell, who painted it, and the Resteins, Edward and Ludwig, who were responsible for the chromolithography. We're also grateful to 1880 for being so quiet – and the Wissahickon for flowing so smoothly back then. Thanks go to the Library of Congress, too, for saving a bit of our artistic heritage for us.

The Wissahickon flows into the Schuylkill River. There's a park there now. It's part of Philadelphia. Edgar Allen Poe and John Greenleaf Whittier visited there, so that fisherman was in good company.

We hope he caught lots of fish.

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Dmitri Gheorgheni

24.09.12 Front Page

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