Friday, August 1, 2008

Beacons in the distance

For the longest time, I have been trying to capture an image of a water tower. My friends know this by now, and regularly point out towers that loom before us in town, and those that we spy on the horizon. I have an idea in mind as to what I want to show/share, but it's proving to be an illusive depiction. These photos above come close. But know that I have passed many, many towers - and the perfect shot, in my mind, has yet to be taken.

Water towers are a common sight in the rural mid-west. You often see one (or more) on the horizon. It is a beacon. It tells you that you're close to a community. It might be your designated destination, or in a town that you are merely passing through. Or one that you will see only from a distance. Toward the end of a riding day, it's uplifting to finally see your destination's tower in the distance. "Ah, there's where we'll end up." Sometimes you close in on it quickly - but more often, at a snail's (e.g. your) pace. You put visual hooks into the tower and cinch yourself into town.

Some towers look quite dated, others almost appear to be space ships on stilts. The wording can be plain and to the point: Fremont. Or the town slogan might be included: Hardin - town with a reason.

Cities announce themselves with tall, new or old, habitable buildings. Water towers are an icon of towns on the prairie.

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