Long before I had ever heard of Sisyphus, or even seen that Red Bull commercial, I had the recurring dream in which I'm tasked with counting a valley-full of rocks and hauling them up a steep hillside. The stress in these dreams was palpable, and I'd wake still feeling the weight of the endeavor. I was nine. I don't know what gives a kid that kind of anxiety, but I'm sure that had I been faced the sisyphean science of cartography it would have triggered a full-on panic attack.
There is something so comforting, though, about these maps. I mean look at that quilt. Gorgeous. I'm a huge fan of juxtaposition. And I don't know if I've seen a better pairing of science and art than what these people have done with streets and boundaries and city blocks. So very cool. And I'm beginning to see the appeal. There's so much to be found in maps, their fractal outgrowths at once ordered and organic. They convey history and sociology and politics and, of course, a sense of place. And the idea of taking a map and making it my own now seems oddly comforting, a nice respite from a long day spent satisfying the unfocused energies of small children.