Monday, February 18, 2008

Ithaca is Gorges

Perhaps you have seen the phrase "Ithaca is Gorges" on a bumper sticker or a t-shirt somewhere. My arrival in Ithaca has, unfortunately, coincided with the death of the man who coined that semi-famous phrase. But here I am, in Ithaca, at the beginning of a three-week dissertation research trip. I've never been here before, and in reminds me of home in Iowa, except somewhat more prosperous and somewhat prettier. For one thing, its woodsier: less of the land has been given over to agriculture. For another, it's less flat. Cornell University is situated at the top of the hill around here, and this administration building is more or less then top of campus. It's nothing too steep, but anyone mounting an attack on the campus with a bicycle brigade would certainly be slowed by its insistent verticality.

It hardly seems fair that glaciers should have left my corners of the Midwest with fewer undulations than a heart monitor hooked up to a pickle and this place with lakes, furrows, and waterfalls all around. But so it goes. Indeed, I learned today that the campus of Cornell University is more or less squinched between two gorges. I walked over one on my way to the library today, but it was impossible to get a really good photograph of it. I'll go to the other one tomorrow and see if I can get a better one. It also snowed tonight, so things should look a good deal more wintry. That's probably for the best.

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