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'The light at the end of the tunnel'

Written By venus on Sunday, June 23, 2013 | 11:11 PM

"The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train."
~Robert Lowell, American poet, 1917-1977

Lowell's quote was a takeoff on a previous saying, "There is light at the end of the tunnel." The proverb is an expression of hope that something will end soon and favorably, or that the completion of a journey, task or project is within sight. Lowell modified the saying in 1922 to express the opposite: that the optimist’s vision was misplaced.

Lowell's wry observation was cast aside during the optimism of the early 1960s. In 1962 President Kennedy observed, "There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel." During the height of the U.S. war in Vietnam, the Johnson administration was publicly professing progress. Walt Rostow, Johnson’s National Security Adviser, said in 1967, "I see light at the end of the tunnel."

However, President Lyndon Johnson had his doubts from the outset about the prospect of ultimate and quick success in Vietnam. In a private meeting in 1965 with a key senator, Johnson said, "Light at the end of the tunnel? We don't even have a tunnel; we don't even know where the tunnel is."

"Light at the end of the tunnel" has been used to express optimism—or at least hope—in economic crises, in the war in Iraq and in a host of other difficulties. It's become a cliché that deserves retirement. But before it’'s put to pasture, let's look at some of its variants:

"The optimist believes that there is always light at the end of the tunnel or, put differently, that a silver lining lurks behind every dark cloud."
~Uche Ohia, Nigerian activist for public leadership and accountability

"Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off."
~Aaron Paul, U.S. actor

"There is light at the end of the tunnel, but how long is the tunnel?”
~David Briggs, head trader at Federated Investors

"Politicians are people who, when they see the light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel."
~Sir John Quinton, chairman of London Metropolitan Police Committee

"The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is."

"The light at the end of the tunnel is a carrot."
~Bugs Bunny

So with all that said, presented herewith are a few images of tunnels, lights and a few naked men.

And now a few noteworthy tunnels …

The Gate Tower Tunnel in Osaka is one of the most curious buildings in Japan. The tunnel is the result of an unusual compromise between the landowner and the Japanese government. The 5th, 6th and 7th stories of the 16-story office building is occupied by a major highway, the Hanshin Expressway. The tunnel does not make contact with the building; it's held up by supports next to the building. The highway is surrounded by an enclosure to protect the building from noise and vibration.

The Tunnel Log in the Sequoia National Park in central California is a popular attraction. The tree, which measures 275 feet (84 meters) high and 21 feet (6.4 meters) in diameter, fell across a park road in 1937 due to natural causes. The following year, a crew cut an 8-foot (2.4-meter) high and 17-foot (5.2-meter) wide tunnel through the trunk.

Tunnel Rock, also in the Sequoia National Park, is a granite boulder. In 1938, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps, as part of a Great Depression construction project, dug a tunnel for the roadway. The road now bypasses the tunnel, but visitors can walk beneath the "balanced rock."

The Guoliang Tunnel was opened to automobile traffic in 1977. Built by local villagers under the direction of their chief, Shen Mingxin, the project took five years to complete. Extending 3,940 feet (1,200 meters) the tunnel passes through the side of an almost vertical mountain. The holes along the tunnel are natural, making the openings seem like windows. Traveling this road is said to be thrilling because of the seemingly bottomless cliff to the valley below.

The "Tunnel of Love" is located near the City of Klevan in Ukraine. It's actually a   grove of trees carved by the repeated use of railway trains that keep the tree branches in check. The tunnel forms a 0.6-mile (1-kilometer) section of the railroad. The Tunnel of Love isn't publicized, making it a well-kept (and well-preserved) secret.


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