I stand again in the middle of the two tracks looking towards home. The long day of being on the road is nearly over and I crave comfort of my recliner and a home cooked meal. As the storm passes beyond the river the high hills shield me from the ominous clouds and howling wind. The big blue truck seems to know it’s way through the winding road like a faithful horse in days gone by. The engine races as I round the last curve and roll into the driveway. Before I even insert the key into lock I can hear my little buddy Scout baying out his welcome song. The door opens and he brings his favorite toy to share. The warm smile of my wife’s engaging eyes let’s me know that I’m not just at my house. I’m home.
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A light breaks through the morning mists as if it is plowing a pathway for travel. The long mournful sound of horn in combination with the thunder of wheels proceeds the screeching of the brakes as the train pulls into the tipple. I ease my big blue truck into the wide spot near the berm. A mountain is waiting to be loaded onto the train and moved to the power plants and steel mills. If the miners are the men who pull light out of the darkness then the railroad workers are the men who move mountains.
One of local engines CSX 7979 was recently spotted in California by my fellow blogger Russel Ray. Russel is real train buff who was able to track CSX 7979 back to Huntington West Virginia. I never really expected that any of our trains would be found that far West!
I suppose that it shouldn’t surprise me. Our coal goes into the grid as electricity and into the iron that becomes steel. It’s almost as if there is a little piece of our mountains in almost everything that is either made from steel or uses electricity. Look around. You probably have a piece of Appalachia in your home too.
Most of us are familiar with The Little Engine That Could. However, it occurs to me that some of my international friends may not have been told the story as a child so here is a summery.
The little train engine was loaded heavy and faced a long stretch of tracks up a steep mountain. The climb was hard but he kept repeating “I think I can. I think I can.” Over and over until he was over the top. It’s a preschool classic tale about the power of positive thinking. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that the Heart’s thoughts forms us into what we are as a person. In other words, how we identify ourselves determines how we behave. Do we see ourselves as the happy one? The fun one? The smart one? Maybe we see ourselves as the one who has a good heart but is always being taken advantage of. Whatever it is it’s that self identity that influences what we will do in any given situation. Even if the choice is being made subconsciously we are still making a choice. What forms that self identity can be pretty complicated but as I understand it we get a lot of this from the opinions of others. I once witnessed one of the cruelest pranks known to mankind when working in a prefab housing factory. The short version is that multiple people who was in on the prank simply asked this person if he was feeling okay. No suggestion of what might have caused the question was to be made. After several inquiries the otherwise healthy young man left early claiming he felt ill. The opinions of the group had so much influence on his opinion of himself that he manifested symptoms of illness. The next day he was told by several people that he looked well and that his recovery was amazing and he had one the most productive days ever! It was all done by manipulating his opinion of himself. And that brings me back to The Little Engine That Could. By repeating to himself that positive thought over and over he brought out the best that was inside himself and overcame the obstacle before him.
I try to keep these two stories in mind when I’m feeling down. One of them I learned as a child and the other I witnessed first hand. The lesson I learned was that positive thoughts can improve my quality of life. Also, with the rise of social media we’re more likely to encounter people like the coworkers who made a person sick simply with the power of suggestion. Keep that in mind when listening to the negative opinions yourself and others that might be floating around out there and never hesitant to give a kind word to someone who might need it to get through the day.
I think that one of the reasons why I’m attracted to railroad tracks is that to me they symbolize a simpler lifestyle. The railway has a rhythm and tempo that’s ordered as opposed to chaos of the highway. As I’ve said before in other posts I like to daydream about the places where the tracks will take me. In my mind’s eye we pass through lush forests and over peaceful rivers. The old saying about it being about the journey over the destination is right. The journey sets the tone for the whole experience. Tonight I want to wish you a peaceful experience in both journey and destination.
Tonight’s image is a set of train tracks from late last summer. As I write this post a thunderstorm is raging through the mountains. My little buddy Scout has pointed out the clause in his contract that requires he be comforted during any all thunderstorms. ( In return he keeps the ninjas out from under the beds in the house 😉 ). This set of tracks is one of the ones that always indicated my sense of adventure. I’ve never seen what it is that is around the corner. For now, Scout and I will look at picture and distract ourselves from the thunder. I hope you enjoy the image as well.