December 3, 2021
This morning, I was running the trails behind the park across the street from my house. At one point, I took a turn into a flooded area that I couldn’t cross. So I stopped to look and listen. A few weeks ago, I was in this exact same spot and I saw a deer hopping away to my left. And when I turned around, a great big owl flew not 8 feet above my head.
I stood there looking around at the stillness. So calm, so peaceful. And then it was broken by this [screeching train rumbling on the tracks about 10 meters away (audio)]. This lasted about two minutes. And when it stopped, my ears returned to the chirping birds.
These railroads arrived in this town in December of 1850, 171 years ago. And it was a big deal. A sign of progress and the future to come.
I love to be out in nature, away from modernity. But I also love this contrast. It’s like seeing 12th century churches nestled between the modern architecture in London. Or a thousand-year-old temple next to an elementary school in Japan. It brings awareness to where we are, and to where we’ve come from.
We’ve certainly come a long way since the railroad meant ‘progress’. And as we look to the future, I hope we can also keep an ear on our past.
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