Photo from the World: Poronin, Poland

Tatras Mountains, Poronin, Poland

Tatras Mountains, Poronin, Poland

While you’re sleeping, keeping the bed nice and warm, having that dream where you’re on the 18th tee at St. Andrews, I’m out driving around the countryside, looking for photos. Sometimes, anyway. Okay, often, I’m just sitting in my living room, reading something (Seeds of Hope, by Jane Goodall, this week), or I’m out training for the next half-marathon (Salzburg, Austria, in 10 days), but a couple days ago, it was definitely out driving around, looking for photos.

I’m in Zakopane, Poland right now, a cute town that reminds me of many mountain towns in Washington State that exist to serve the mountain travel industry – skiing, hiking, riding cable cars to the mountain top while wearing hiking boots. I haven’t been in mountains like this for at least a year, and I’ve missed them. Mossy, pine-covered slopes are home, and my life doesn’t take me to them as often as I’d like. Of course, it provides other benefits, but when I drive to a new (or even a familiar) mountain destination, I can feel the smile creep across my face and sink into my being as I round each new corner of the twisting highway.

Today’s photo was from the valley floor (in a couple days, there’ll be a much more picturesque view from a hilltop), and it’s not the sexiest mountain photo ever made. Though I was deeply frustrated by the billboards (I doubt there are too many who love the things, but, wow, do they piss off a landscape photographer), I liked the wires and abandoned train station of Poronin, the next town over from Zakopane. What I like in this photo is the way the majesty of the first rays of sun (5:43 am) striking the mountains and clouds elevates, or at least balances, the mundane of a billboard-riddled, over-wired country highway.

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