There are two obstacles on my way to work everyday. That is, there are two REAL obstacles not counting the occasional cow, deer, horse or dog that may get in my way. One of those is the train track and the other is the red light at the corner of mainstreet. The light ALWAYS catches me and I find myself giggling at the thought of how I get distressed that this ONE redlight has slowed my progress in getting to work. It's five miles to work. One redlight isn't going to make or break my day.
Today, I got caught by a train or I managed to get to the tracks just as the train was getting there. So, I had to sit and wait. CSX runs a train through here about every four hours. It's a single track and I am sure they have a well engineered schedule but it amazes me how they coordinate the back and forth because there are trains that I see going both directions at different times of the day. I'm not an engineer but I do understand that somewhere up and down the road is another track or a place for the trains travelling the other way to get off the track. But I digress.
As I sat there, the train experience gave me some interesting thoughts. First, I remember my childhood and how my mother would immediately initiate a contest in the car when we got caught by a train. We would all have to count the cars and ever who'se count agreed with hers won. We didn't really win anything short of the ability to tell the others we had outdone them. It was fun though. On hot summer days when we were sweltering in the car, it distracted us from the discomfort of the wait in the hot sun. Oh the memories of Mom taking us to the town swimming pool and heading home (the local quarry after moving to the farm) - wet, sitting on towels, sticking to the fake leather seats and counting those cars.
I often notice the "artwork" on the various cars of the train. It seems to be more prolific and more frequent lately or maybe I am just more curious regarding the world that this artwork comes from. My daughter tells me there are "gang" representations and I see words that make me sad that someone would actually paint on a rail car but I also see beautiful artwork. The train is moving so it's difficult to read the various words and symbols that are painted or decipher the code with which they are painted, but I sit and wonder about the talent behind this work. I saw blended and shaded colors in the letters and symbols, beautiful lines and coordination. From my artistically untrained eye, I saw a little extra beauty on many of the bland and rusted out rail cars. I wonder, what would happen if these individuals really put themselves to the task at hand? What if the rail company actually paid them a bit to decorate those cars? The cars would be far more interesting and fascinating. Would vendors then fight to get the prettier cars for their cargo?
The area in which I live is rich in "murals". We have local artists within a 100 mile area who are quite talented at painting representations of historic events and scenes on the sides of fences and buildings. What if this talent that paints these cars did this on them? Instead of teaching our kids to count the cars, we could give them little miniature history lessons as the trains came by. I would expect myself to look forward to seeing the next one with anticipation of what great events I could identify or the challenge of researching them after the train passed.
Yes people. I live in a dream world but it's the world I prefer to live in. I am a person of limited talent and creativity so I am in awe of those who have so much. And from what I saw on the train this morning (51 cars by the way), there are lot of those people out there.
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