Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On The Train

Deep experience is never peaceful.

Henry James
Hello Bruce
Watchman, tell us of the night.
Weeping may endure for a night
But joy cometh in the morning.

The difficulty with this poem by Mrs. M. M. Weinland is that it doesn't tell how long the night may be. This has been a period of darkness for me, particularly the last 6 months. I look forward to finding that green and grassy meadow where I can rest in the sunshine and drink from the brook of joy. I refuse to accept the idea suggested by Sophocles that one reaches a point in life where joy is no longer a possibility.
I like trains. I prefer to travel by rail than by any other means. Although I am an excellent driver, rarely had an accident and never a serious one, the highway means other drivers and their irrational ways. And, although air travel is very fast by comparison, a train will never leave you sitting on a runway for 8 hours unable to get off or take off. And, if there's trouble, it won't land on some super highway, in a farmer's corn field or turn back to the wrong airport. And it won't lose your luggage. On a train your back pack is under your feet or in the rack above you.

In News York City, as with many cities, the best way to travel is by rail. The subway, as its name implies, is mostly underground, which means frequent long dark tunnels. But unlike any other form of transportation one can be sure that the train will reach its next destination. It has no choice, the rails ensure that.

When traveling through the tunnel you are unaware of how long it is. If you are lucky enough to be in the first car and can stand looking out the front window you are staring into the long dark tunnel until you finally see faint lights of the next station in the distance that gradually grow brighter and fill all the space. I am looking forward to seeing those lights.

I can also travel to New York City by rail on New Jersey Transit or Amtrak. When approaching the city the train goes underground to traverse the Hudson River thus making for another long dark tunnel. One day while sitting on that train a woman got on with a young girl. The girl spent the entire time staring out the window at the towns, stations, fields and wet lands as we passed them. She didn't say a word until we got to the tunnel under the river, Then after a while she said "When are we gonna come outta this creepy tunnel?"

What wisdom!! I keep asking myself the same question. When am I going to stop rumbling and shaking through my creepy tunnel? When am I going to see the lights up ahead telling me that I am approaching my destination? When am I going to reach the green, grassy meadow and sip the waters of the joy that cometh in the morning?

Joy. I hear it in the music of Bach, in the words of Shakespeare, in the calling of the few birds that live around here. I believe that joy, happiness, goodness exist, they are all already there waiting for us to get through the creepy tunnels of our lives. How long are the tunnels? No man knoweth.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

1 comment:

Geo. said...

As you know, I too am fond of trainrides. Just thinking about them can make ideas appear. I try to get a seat close to the canteen car, where the beer is. I believe, deep down, each of us is possessed of an internal choo-choo.