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Carl Sagan Memorial Highway

Not really. It's Arizona 64. This is not the shot/location I wanted to do for this topic, but it will have to suffice.

 

The best book I've read in the last year (or possibly ever) is Contact by Carl Sagan. One of the opening chapters deals with the director of SETI in New Mexico and her tendency to look for patterns in white noise. Tires rolling on a highway, subways, washing machine motors, things like that.

 

The character, a Ms. Arroway, especially likes to drive in remote New Mexico on roads just like these late at night with her top down (her car's top, that is). These roads tend to be lined with cute little bunnies standing at attention as your headlights illuminate them as you pass. You might see a couple dozen in a mile.

 

Though unable to get the shot I wanted (the bunnies scurry away if you slow down or stop), after driving along New Mexico 26 last night and re-reading the chapter this evening, I can attest to Mr. Sagan's accuracy.

 

Which leads one to the conclusion that he himself must have spent at least one night driving along a remote two-lane highway in New Mexico, probably writing the chapter in his head as his car rolled down the rabbit-lined roads. He'd no doubt have had plenty of time to do so, as these roads roll on seemingly forever through the New Mexico desert. Perhaps he drove same one as me, though it's not very close to the Very Large Array of radio telescopes near Socorro.

 

It's a tantalizing thought, as it makes me wonder what else he experienced while writing that book, as he has quite wonderful descriptions of other places and situations. A Japanese dinner reception comes to mind.

 

There is little I admire more in this world than authenticity. Carl Sagan could provide it in abundance.

 

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Taken on March 18, 2008