Freitag, 25. Februar 2011

moving metal


Two lines receeding to a near point (closer to closer but never touching).

The past unfolds, passing beneath the present to a fading horizon.

Snow still clings in patches of low earth,
bare branches. 
grey sky.

A cat hunts around a long abandoned depot station. 
A nest awaits it's returning birds. 
Mid-winter is passing.

the green on ground and brown bush is not coming spring but belongs to a misplaced warm spell or remnents of last year holding on.

No, what comes is still unseen. Beyond the scope of view, deep beneath, happening to seeds and roots and light forces in the darkness.

Even now, here, from your vantage at the back of the caravan, the present is limited in it's availability. Your perspective is just one of many from rolling railroad cars. 

It's a long train to hold in attention all at once. 

Life weaves between the cars. Those already slipping into what has been, and those up ahead – able to see what to you is still hidden. 

This line is navigable.
You can make that trip. 

A journey within a journey. 
From self-reflective rear window to the growling engine that pulls the whole thing along.

Half the carriage seats are taken but the train is full. An experience populated with mulitple languages and postures. Diverse characters on anthroposophical holiday. A pair of middle-aged couples plays cards in the restaurant wagon. The club car is full of singing and happy chatter – modeling clay at one table and a piano sometimes played. Like the belly of a trans-Atlantic ocean voyage a hundred years before. 

Formal greetings (in a foreign language that misses your ear and escapes your tongue) and signs of a reserved co-existing errupts in bouts of easy friendship particular to those traveling alone.

How quickly a family forms! 
How quickly moving metal becomes a home! 
A seat becomes yours alone and the Dutch philosopher a familiar cousin. The graduate student fresh from Madrid and a new understanding of Waldorf education, pulled toward deeper waters in front of your eyes. She listens with interest to conversations about spiritual epistemology and the finer points of a worldview that expands her thesis just as it expands our understanding of who we are, where we come from and where we are to go. 

There is a familiarity here – family just met – the Hungarian musicologist, the two craft apprentices, traveling with packs, staffs and top hats on their "wandering years". Martina on work-exchange with a cleaning bucket. The Brazilian with the strong German, the German with the strong smile.  The old woman with the heavy suitcase and those passing through the cabin on the way someplace else.  We provide what an individual needs of a tribe for 21st Century survival: small coins on snack machine loan, checking to make sure one hasn't overslept, holding space in the buffet line.  But more too -  recognition, contribution, acceptance, humor.  

The train stops. The train moves.
Woods pass by.
Rock and snowy stone.
House and bridge. Horse and truck.
Plastic bottles along the track.

The stations are timeless in this part of the world. And by timeless you mean unmaintained for 50 years or old ahead of it's time. Crumbling plaster exposing brick beneath.  a period film set. 

Slow moving railroad cars can have a morbid connotation in this part of the world on an overcast day. Eastern Europe and the Jews. Not a sunny thought – but today, in Slovenia, light filtered through grey clouds – the picture comes to you like a photo album in shakey hands. Man in a dark uniform on the platform smoking a cigarette, young girl and serious mother. Cracked wall with year's of accumulated soot. 

But the grafitti is different now of course and the girl's hat – the one with the ear flaps and the tassels - speaks more of Guatemalen hand crafts than world wars and forced labor camps.

But history stays with us doesn't it? 
(like the tracks beneath our wheels.)

It's enevitable back there – history passing as orderly as clockwork.  
The receeding tracks stop only when we too stop, when the whole journey comes to a rest.

This little station here was also a destination reached, even if only temporarily. A long line of destinations. All waiting for your eyes. That bit of rubble there, that sports field, empty, behind the building here, vacant, barred windows, tiled roof, snow shovel leaning near a door, ready.

History lives in the details.  Questions of existence become more clear when you pay attention. These details call out your place in the great order of things.  And today the riddle of time is the theme that speaks towards you.  A voice too soft to make out clearly – subtle lips offering the paradox of eternity (forever and ever, never and now). 

But the future does arrive. Or the threshold of it. Standing in the first carriage at the edge of what is to come. The horizon ahead is still eclipsed – a steam engine with a blank face. The future present in a crack between connecting hooks. 

The tracks rush under so fast! 
There is danger here. 
Red levers, cables that should not be disconnected.  
An order that needs to be maintained for the journey's successful continuation. 

This small place here. 

Iron and rushing steal. 
Axel greece and disel pistons.
Windshield wipers to clear the fractured bodies of insects crushed by the oncoming present rushing into the next moment's future.

You feel forces here 
an edge to the mystery. 
More tangible that those waiting under frozen ground. 
The squeal of metal kept in place by metal, the floor groans at high torque. 

You must change your life to proceed further.  
You forfeit your title as passenger on up ahead. 
There is only one role beyond this point.
No through-door and the interface connecting you is finer than ether.

The captain of this fragile ship – from one perspective an effortless cruise and from another, a raft tied with stressed string, threatneing to come apart from the load and frightening speed.

The conductor is the man behind the drama. 
We go about our passenger business and he his. 
Bridging what is up ahead and what follows behind. 
Conducting one force to another. 
Allowing to pass through.

You don't see the conductor, the conductor enables what you see. 
the motion going past the window. 
the children waiting to wave,  
the receeding tracks, 
the piano car, 
our eyes off the road. 

You move through the cars as the cars move through the landscape as the landscape moves through the seasons as the seasons bring about passing time in devoted reverance to a spinning planet hurtling through the universe on a jouney to circumvent a star that conducts still greater voyages. 

The conductor conducts and you listen, 
a jouney within a journey.

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