I’ve had an interesting relationship with trains throughout my life. Recently I found myself in yet another experience with the heavy cars and powerful engine. Taking a video of the cars moving in front of me seems like a strange thing to do under most circumstances. Trains may seem like an odd thing to bring up, yet here we are. Having been writing so much today it was surprising that something else was written in the tired mind while driving home tonight, but I can say I am glad that it did, now just to take that writing and put it to text.
When I was young there was a set of tracks that ran through a section of town. The tracks came in behind a business which offered sleeping accommodations, a restaurant and a gas station. On occasion I would find myself sitting in the vehicle counting the train cars. This is an experience that most children have when being confronted with the excitement such a machine provides. Oh, and the joy and thrill of a long train.
I loved the sound of the clanking rails and the chugging sound of the engine pulling behind what seems impossible. Of course the alarming sound of the horn was also very exciting. When I moved to a larger and more energy driven town the number of trains that moved through was so much greater. You’d think that their power would wear off, but no, I still loved them.
A Video of a Train
Not more than a just a few days ago I took a video of a train. I was sitting in my car waiting to cross the tracks. Watching the cars go by and out of the blue for no reason that I could really think of I took a video. I may never watch that video again, nor do I really need to. Perhaps however, I did need to take the short video of nothing but train.
After I had moved to the larger town I enjoyed the experience of new things to conquer. Shortly after another change came and I ended up moving away to college. The time was a beautiful combination of new, exciting, challenging and diverse. Not as many trains seemed to pull through town. I lived right next to the tracks toward the end of my stay there. I can say that I still loved them, even when they came through at night and interrupted my sleep.
I moved back to the slightly larger town in need of work. I hadn’t been able to finish my degree at that point and it weighed heavy on me. Yet, it was back to hearing and seeing the trains much more frequently. Some how they seemed less thrilling, yet the rhythm still beat like my own heart and it was hard to dismiss. I’d tap to it or simply feel the sound.
I learned how heavy each car was full of coal, something that you wonder at as a child. 143 tons is nothing to sneeze at. During that period it could be simply put that I was also learning the weight of life, trauma and disappointment in a life.
Life began to get more complicated. Things changed in good and bad ways. Before long my mind was tired and my body hurt. Depression set it. I didn’t really hear the trains anymore, to be honest I really didn’t experience much at all. The constant and good, of course, were my children. They still made me smile and gave me the drive to try to fight.
After a few more years I struggled with panic attacks and sever depression. I would have flashes in my mind of being hit head on by a semi truck, or sitting on a train track watching the engine smash into me. It was terrifying. Trains became a nightmare. The horn made me jump but no longer in the way an excited child would. The rhythm of the clacks no longer made music in my ears but built up the dread the triggered a panic attack.
While it wasn’t something that was purposefully done, my nightmares had started from depression and turned into fear and panic. The big fascinating feats of human determination became a thing I sorely wished to avoid. That was a time I had reached the lowest point my life had ever seen.
It was finally time that I started asking for help. I was fortunate that I finally let myself start to actually take the help that was given. My mind was starting to heal. A body that had been in a pain that wasn’t understood or defined for more than ten years, finally got some answers! I may always get a bit uncomfortable around semi trucks. There are a few reasons for that but I no longer get extremely anxious around them.
I may never look at the train video again, because I don’t need to. The video was taken when it struck me that I wasn’t afraid. I sat there and smiled at myself know that I had come so far, and as proof I wanted to document that moment of triumph.
Those powerful engines might struggle at first to get the cars all moving, but they get there. Healing takes time to muster through the pain that is there, pulling through each pain and memory. It may take time, but you can get there. The cars feel that momentum each in their own turn, but moving together in the same beautiful rhythm. Growth may requires things to line up and requiring something to set them in motion. When that motion starts the beautiful rhythm of life starts to return. That loud horn meant to alarm people for their safety is loud. The jolt it gives you can be exciting.
Perhaps the video is nothing more than train cars riding along strong rails. Maybe it is only cars being led somewhere. It could be that the video was nothing more than a waste of time. Yet, I can’t help but to feel that the video is a loud, strongly guided, powerful and exciting shout of freedom.