Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Foreign Lands #3

It takes eight hours to get from Paris to Lyons. On the way there is a very sudden change in the landscape. You come out of a tunnel into an abruptly southerly scene. Precipitous slopes, split rocks revealing their inner geology, a deeper green, soft, pale-blue smoke of a stronger, decidedly cerulean hue. A couple of clouds stand idly and massively on the horizon, as if they weren’t haze but dark stone. All things have sharper edges; the air is still; its waves don’t flatter the fixed forms. Each has its unalterable contours. Nothing hovers and havers between here and there. There is perfect conviction in everything, as if the objects were better informed about themselves and the position they took up in the world. Here you don’t wonder. You don’t have a hunch. You know.

Joseph Roth, Frankfurter Zeitung, September 8, 1925