Thursday and sunshine

There’s always that small talk at the start of most meetings where we wind up talking about the weather. Even if we intend to make an effort to not “talk about the weather” that effort seems to create an anxious energy that, inevitably, brings us back there. I can remember sunny afternoons in grade ten chemistry class where no amount of dedication to my studies could distract me from the view. Sunshine. It’s not that chemistry class, lacked, well, chemistry but somehow it sort of felt like it did. Everything was outdoors and we were here alive in a void so great it deserved a science fiction book series dedicated to documenting our fading moments.

Not today. We broke out. We almost ran away. We got as far as any good romantic runaway could. About three blocks. About how far it is from where I’m typing this to where I stood listening to the lope of GE prime movers in the midday sun. A herd of GE’s peacefully grazing on diesel. We approach so as not to disturb their slumber.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “the hobby” lately. My days are packed so tight that the process to decompress after the work day feels like it can take as many hours to relax my mind into a more useful, more human, more social pace. In that time moving through mental decompression motions I’m just useless. The brain activity, let alone the words, just aren’t there and I’m at least getting better at saying that I appreciate the company because it feels human, makes me feel still alive. The sound of our footsteps on gravel reminds me I am still present. I can tell things are starting to settle into that complete human state because on the way to important things, hobby things come to mind. It’s expressed as “trains!” but it feels like we’re closer to whole again. We praise the hobby for the craft skills it invites us to practice. Sometimes I use it as a barometer of my health. Like how my obsessive behaviours flare when I’m tired or under stress my greater creativity and productivity in the hobby traces the same arc. I’m grateful for the Lister, the Ruston, and late nights when I can’t sleep and make a cup of tea to sip while studying the way the moon’s light explores Victoria’s slim face. These escapades back into this hobby are current. They also help me feel connected to things that I consider to still be foundational components of my identity; a sense of how I’d describe myself.

And here in the yard, right now, there are four big GE’s at rest. I’ve been talking to myself how I really don’t see myself in the hobby any more and wondering what I’ll do with the space but here, now, sometimes it feels like a good idea to collect a few models of trains like these in case I find myself no longer able to just run away to be with them, where they graze, while we wait for the next thing to do. Or be caught, and brought back to where they think we belong.

Categories: How I think

4 replies

  1. Some nice writing, Chris. A good way to collect and preserve your thoughts for that future day where you say, “See, I knew this would happen.”

    Everything changes, with one roller and paint. One day you’re a Citirail, the next you’re a CN.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • They say the “constant is change” but I think of it as proof of life because we are either learning to love and learning to live or we are regressing away from those things. It’s easy to fear change because it’s new and we’re already, sometimes always, trying to stay current and change just feels to constantly be interrupting our frail handle on Now. I’m glad to still be here and, like our trains, I was one thing and now I’m something new but deep down inside I am always me. My grey hairs patching out the previous owner of who I was but evidence of new ways I am still useful. Not so bad.

      I have this small box of HO scale “See, I knew this would happen” things. Every time I’m trackside I see SD40-2’s (CBNS) or GEVO’s (CN) and I’m certain there’s got to be room in that box for proactive collecting…right?


  2. That post is poetry. Thanks for sharing.

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