“…but I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise, and stretch in it mystified my longing.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Trains, the hypnotic sound of steel upon steel, a lonesome whistle crying through the night. All who take this journey have a story to tell. It’s the road taken, an enigma, even after all these years… I’ve stopped trying to understand it’s wanting call. You forget about yesterday as you drive away from the present into a procession of long dead thoughts come alive. Thoughts of the person you once were, if only in your mind, of the father you never knew, of love that couldn’t last. The ghosts are still present even though they may sleep a little more now. I have wasted so much time in route to one thing or another, now I feel the need to make time count in all areas, even on this train at midnight alone with my thoughts.
The conductor delivering a load to the unfortunates of society, riding the hemisphere on these forgotten tracks of doubt and fear, regret and remorse. I witness dawn and dust today between the twin rails like a fever that just won’t go away. Maybe I could be the person I left the past for instead of longing for what I left and the epiphanies that induced me to leave. Honor the past and the people in it by living the present into the future like ‘Driver Eight’ in a red locomotive cruising through the center of a deserted town, just one more time.
Out from the maze of tracks of the rail yard and its graves of forgotten railroad cars, I’m driving this train faster and faster to an unknown destination. And who am I but a knight in modern chivalry riding too many days in this Iron Horse on the far side of failure. But it is a noble failure for in my botched attempts there is a flicker of light, pure and boundless as the stars in the eternal sky that can never be extinguished. For it is all we really have and neither armor nor shield and sword can take that away. And in the distance on another night is another train and a whistle growing faint into the Mississippi delta.