Vacant were the eyes that stared back at me from rotting sills. A wave of isolation and loneliness pervaded my thinking and I pulled back a bit from the train window. I felt the desertion like oil seeping from toxic barrels sinking into my chest. Small town death, I mused and the end of the family farm.
Then the briefest flutter of something at the top window of a grain elevator caught my eye and the thought of a barn owl nesting in the eaves came to mind. How easily this lead to the sound of mice squeaking below the warped floor boards and the pondering of a raccoon sleeping atop an air vent. Bees work to winter in a broken tractor engine, as geese munched on the grasses growing from past year’s feed. My inner vision shifted, just a hair, and I looked more closely as the peeling paint rusting pipes. Something about the decay creating a curious beauty that was consuming all that passed before me.
I see now it was my own isolation and loneliness that I saw in the darkened windows. It was my own decay that pervaded my thoughts. As the pigeons left the rooftop of the silo and squirrels darted along the fence of the abandoned feed lot, I saw it was not life that was missing from these places, it was fear of death that was haunting me.
4 thoughts on “Images from a Train: Vacancy”
I wasn’t expecting the last line and it hit home. With each passing year the vulnerability to death increases for myself or my family and friends. It is not that I am afraid of death itself since I see my spirit as eternal. It is losing this particular life with its complex relationships and memories as well as a general love of life on earth. What will my life be like next time I return to earth? What challenges will I have then? There I go trying to live/control in the future, an impossible task. Time to just enjoy today and immerse myself in its immediate complexities.
Yes, you are certainly ahead of me, but realizing I am coming to the second half of life brings on curious feelings. You are right, it is best to enjoy this moment in time. Live this life for what is living. When death arrives at twilight we would be wise to be watching the last beautiful rays of the sunset.
Stop thinking. Come back to yourself in the here and the now. The past is over and the future has not yet come. Feel the wonders of life at the present moment. You can never die like a cloud.
Enjoy “Please call me by my true names”!