Thursday, November 1, 2012
With the issuance of its Earthscapes stamps, the Postal Service has outdone itself.
The 15 stamp sheet includes aerial photographs of diverse American countrysides and cityscapes. The vivid and striking photographs were taken by photographers in ultra-light and regular aircraft - - and from satellites - - at heights ranging from several hundred feet above the earth to several hundred miles in space.
These stamps are immediately relevant to readers of this blog. As you fly across the nation, you will see one or more of the views on the stamps, which are grouped into three categories of earthscapes: natural, agricultural, and urban.
“Once you’ve seen the world from above, you never look at it quite the same way again,” said U.S. Postal Service Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett. “That’s why the Postal Service is proud to offer these Earthscapes stamps, which invite us to take a bird’s eye view of the land we all share.”
In the top row, we fly over America’s stunning wilderness. While a volcanic eruption scars the forests of Washington State, fog drifts over the timeless sandstone towers of Utah’s Monument Valley. In Alaska, a wide stripe that looks like a highway is a glacier, an immense conveyer belt of ice. The jagged white shards at its base, resembling broken glass, are icebergs, bobbing in a lake.
The stamps in the center row may look like abstract art, but they show five agricultural products: salt, timber, grain, cherries, and cranberries. Center-pivot irrigation systems create the beguiling play of geometric shapes in the middle stamp, although ground dwellers may see only sprinklers in fields of wheat, alfalfa, corn, and soybeans.
Urban life is celebrated in the five stamps in the bottom row. Highways corkscrew around themselves and neat subdivisions sport tiny blue pools. It’s our familiar world, shrunken into miniature — and seen with the new eyes that a fresh perspective can bring. Art director Howard E. Paine designed this educational and visually rich pane of stamps.
The only downside with these stamps is that they are so popular that they sell out quickly at post offices, including Guilderland, New York, my favorite mail stop. However, they can also be purchased from USPS.com You may have to hunt for the stamps, but once you see them, you will know it was worth the hunt.