Crossroads

My favorite thing about Google Street View may be the hodgepodge of images put together to make crossroads. This does not apply in big cities, but in more rural areas, oftentimes one road was completed at a different time of day, by a different crew, in a completely different season than the first one. Which means that in one step you can segue from a softened summer sunset into the bleak stretches of fallow November fields. I suppose aesthetically it’s less than ideal to the people who thought up the project in the first place, but I find endearing the reminders of the actual humans, slogging across the globe, that keep the whole thing going. Or at least made it possible, once.

I also think it paints a more complete picture of the landscape in question. I grew up in the part of the world pictured there, and my memories don’t get scrubbed clean of the months of windburned knuckles or those where every time you move, one body part sticks to another body part. These are less-than-shining seasons. Showing me a 3D mapscape of a road at one specific point in time shows me a glorified snapshot that places that sunny (or misty, or snowy) day on a pedestal. Showing me snatches of the same road in November, April, August…that comes closer, however faintly, to showing me a place.

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