Every year on the Feast of St. Nicholas or thereabouts, the sun crosses Route 91. Well, the road runs north-south and we suppose the sun crosses over it most days, but usually it does so when has risen some degrees above the horizon. And one mile of this road, between the power plant and the mountain in Easthampton, Massachusetts is angled precisely so that at this time of the year, just as the sun rises, the full force of the rays of that busy old fool run parallel to the ground. It's like Stonehenge, save that it sucks.

The experience is intensely unpleasant, not unlike staring straight into a Klieg lamp and continuing to drive. Traffic slows to a crawl, but it hardly matters. It's madness to slow down, madness to speed along -- Pascal's wager with a gas pedal. One memorable day, there was a bank of ice fog upon the road. A nuée ardente of baby aspirin orange cotton candy. Inside the fog, there were no shadows and no edges, just orangeness coming from all directions. When John Milton spoke of "darkness visible," perhaps this is what he had in mind.

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