Sunday, April 15, 2007

Driving North in April

Yesterday we drove up to Two Harbors. a tiny port north of Duluth, and watched the Canadian Leader come in to the ore docks. There is still ice on the lake and mist above the ice, so the day was both sunny and hazy. There is snow along the shore, the remains of the big storm in March.

I grew up in Minneapolis when the city was dotted with grain elevators and spent six years in Detroit when the city was dotted with the beautiful car plants designed by the Albert Kahn firm. To me, wealth is grain elevators, tow boats pushing barges full of grain, lakers loaded with iron ore, freight trains, car plants, steel mills and factory towns.

Wal-Marts aren't wealth, nor are coffee shops or the Golden Arches. Nor is the home construction industry. Houses are a result of workers with money; and the money comes from factories and mines.

This is (I think) because I grew up in the long double shadow of the Depression and World War II. When the factories aren't producing, you are poor. When the factories are producing, you can win the war.

I realize the environmental downside to industrialism. If -- when -- we rebuild the US, it will have to be a sustainable nation.

But I love the lakers and well-made factories and grain elevators. Here is the Canadian Leader coming into Two Harbors.


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