this week’s plans

“The hobby” tells us there’s a model railroading season but, for me, activity feels almost more conversational as the way we modify how we enjoy life during each season inspires different ways of thinking about the hobby. A quick trip to the Island on Sunday led into an overnight and, there I was, on the back deck with my coffee and Model Railway Journal 289 to read while the morning sorted itself out and the folks who sleep later did what they do at times like these. The cat’s like a sundial on mornings like this and by nap location three, now on the hammock, I find there’s this motion of reading a few pages in the magazine, talking to myself about what I’ve just read, sketching a little on the paper that I brought with me, and just staring out into the beautiful land all around. It’s a good life. In these moments there’s no need to schedule thoughts and they come and go as they need to and concentration is the act of following them around the various things to be thought about. Not every thought is about the hobby but those that are, are.

Coy was that layout project that was started in N scale but built in HO and started in the middle of January.

On30 layouts all fall into the folder named Victoria and another Victoria was started almost exactly on Coy’s HO scale roadbed.

A year layout, another January, and another Victoria has appeared; evolving into the latest new chapter. I think it’s some of my best work ever. I’ve been holding regular, almost daily, operating sessions on that latest Victoria until about a month ago. Work went into, let’s just say “busy”, and stuff started piling up. Figuratively in life and literally on top of that last Victoria.

For the last few months these 16mm scale models have been something to work on. A change in scale, working on very small things modelled in a very large scale, has been very rewarding. It’s a lot of fun and it speaks, in a somewhat nostalgic way, to teenage dreams of narrow gauge.

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It’s not the thinking of nothing that is hard when working through meditation but the relaxing into freeing the mind to think of the things it needs to think of, in the order it needs to address them. One of my favourite nights of the year is always the night of Christmas day. That feeling of release from all those moments we work through and how what’s done is done. I’ve always felt that my gift was that night and the quiet that lands on my house and is savoured in one last glass of port before bed. Just like how closing down the house, on that night, is an act of, one-by-one, shutting off the lights and making sure the candles are all blown out the motions of working through each moment in a good meditation is welcoming in things that need to be thought of and working through the conversations those thoughts represent. Driving home from the Island, last night, it became obvious that it was time to pack away Victoria. Unlike layouts previous, it is properly packed away. The trains are back in their boxes and the two sections of benchwork that rested on top of the bookcase where Victoria lived are wrapped for someday in the future when I know what to do with them. Before going to bed last night I vacuumed up the mess from cleaning and this morning there’s this space I created. On more than one occasion I’ve reflected on how, sometimes, the best thing we can do for our workbench is to tidy it to make it ready for new work to be welcomed.

There’s just no bad weather to retreat from. The cold feels so good and I love to be outside in it, on those coldest winter days, and walking along the sand at Rock Barra yesterday felt like welcoming my soul back in after it had been away. When my workbench was out in the entry of our apartment it was quite warm to work at by this point in the summer so it was hard to face that discomfort no matter how great the promise of modelmaking sounded but then Eric Gagnon and Claus Nielsen wisely take their work outdoors and modelmaking under the sun sounds like the very definition of doing it right. Sometimes between the sand, sunshine, and waves; or falling from the sky with snow on a night almost too cold to breathe lands an idea. In a way it’s always model railroading season because this creative energy is simply a part of who we are so the more varied the stimulus the more our imagination reacts to and, from that, the more refreshed and inspired we feel. It’s exciting.

It’ll be interesting to see what is welcomed into this space in the future.

Categories: How I think

3 replies

  1. Interesting, indeed! Watch this space! Thanks for the expectancy, Chris!

    In the sunshine, I’m getting ready to start another model-and-plop scene.


    • I love the way you take the hobby outdoors–your summertime series is always something I really look forward to each year. This season of this taking sections of the layout outdoors is really fantastic thinking. I love it!


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