A train rolls down the tracks. The destination is unknown. Stops are few and far between, and there is no guarantee of a return date. It is, as it should be. Passengers are either all aboard, or not on at all. There is no one foot in, one foot back, for life isn’t supposed to work like that.
In the distance, in the outskirts of the moon lit night, a fire shines, shines into our eyes. The roar of the blaze slowly recedes as the train continues on the tracks. We’ve been to the fire, long before, felt its warmth, and walked away, to places far, far away, and when we turned back around, we were both out of sight. The cool breeze caused a shiver, but the embers remained.
A coyote races across the desert night, to somewhere, as we all are, to the liking of a passenger on board. He says not a word, but watches, through the eyes of his coyote soul, one he’s fought for. A soul, wise beyond his years. He gazes out into the night, as the train continues on; he bids the coyote farewell with a “Whoo Yup,”, and continues listening to Neil Young’s, “Heart of Gold,” which plays in his ears. If any man has a greater heart than he, I commend him.
A bearded man in the back is making peace with the world, for he knows no other way. There is no greater travel companion. He seeks out the world, and takes it full on. Structure has no use for him. He’s in the back of train. He’s put his pack on his back his entire life, chasing the next adventure, the next challenge in his life. Rubber boots find their place on his feet. Many miles and many places hold those footprints. Footprints of memories, of goodness, of kindness, and progress. Joe Purdy’s, “Troubadour,” finds its place in his ears, “And I’ve known lots of people, lots of drifters, lots of rejects, lots of clowns, lots of lovers, lots of liars, lots of thieves. I have been the cat, I’ve been the mouth, I’ve been the closer; I am like a vault, your family’s secrets safe with me.” His peaceful stare finds harmony in the scenery.
Another man, across the aisle, is reading, as he awaits the future. No man works harder, and he’s blackened from the elbow on down from the organic soil in which he tills. A girl he holds dear finds her place across the ocean, and so he sits, watching the passing scenery as a movie clip, one scene after another. She will soon punch her ticket, board the train, and embark on the same journey. Until that time, however, he will work until utter exhaustion, and await her return.
I see the passing night, and await the coming dawn, for soon my stop approaches. It’s been a long time coming. I throw my pack upon my back, have a chainsaw by my side, and a hammer at my waist, for my journey off the grid awaits. Words I’ve put upon a page have afforded me 40 acres alongside a river in the Rocky Mountains. My days of rambling and wandering will soon come to an end, for I’ve seen the spectrum of stability, been at the other end, and I’m ready to pass my days in the woods. I’ll make the daily trek to the train stop, to see if she’s ready to step off. There is only one, and she knows who she is. Again, there is no guarantee.
For I’ve cut down some trees and started a fire with the embers that remained. I’ll hike to the top of the mountain, to see the stars not interrupted by artificial light, scattered across the blackened backdrop, and listen to the song of the river as it passes by in the darkness. To where it’s headed, I do not know, but, like those on the train, it’s got a light leading the way, and is bound for glory.