“Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take…” (Wanderlust 1)

George Inness (American, 1825 - 1894 ), The Lackawanna Valley, c. 1856, oil on canvas, Washington, National Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Huttleston Rogers

George Inness (American, 1825 – 1894 ), The Lackawanna Valley, c. 1856, oil on canvas, Washington, National Gallery, Gift of Mrs. Huttleston Rogers

This view of Scranton, Pennsylvania, shows the new roundhouse of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. The painting was commissioned by the president of the railroad ca. 1856. I love the way the train is energetically pulling out of the roundhouse and up the hill, trailing a plume of steam. Most of all, I love the fact that it was painted in an era when the prospect of industrial progress made people celebrate, rather than picket for the snail darter.

“Travel” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistles shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming
But I see its cinders red on the sky
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take
No matter where it’s going.

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About Dianne L. Durante

I’m an independent scholar and freelance writer /lecturer on art and art history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are *Innovators in Sculpture¸* a survey of 5,000 years of art in two hours, and *Monuments of Manhattan,* a videoguide app by Guides Who Know that’s based on my book *Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.*

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