Sunday, February 8, 2009

08: pacific union

For the past week or so, Union Pacific locomotive 9734 has been waiting patiently in the background on my computer screen.

I took this photo about a year ago, when I still lived in a place that sees snow in February. The weathered golden beauties frequent the trainyards at the southern edge of Provo, Utah, and I used to go wander around the area just to soak in the oddly stirring desolation of the place.

You may already know that I like trains. A lot. Incidentally, my nephew loves trains (and especially "up-downs"). Also, I find industrial wastelands extremely appealing, both aesthetically and emotionally. That's weird, I know. But it should help explain my impulse to explore trainyards.

One Saturday afternoon last spring, I journeyed down to the south Provo tracks, looked around for a few minutes, then sat down on the edge of the road just outside the fence. I could hear the low hum of an engine motor and the occasional mechanical click or clank that told me that a train was getting ready to go. It seems it was only getting ready to get ready, maybe loading up for a freight haul. I don't know, really, because I couldn't see what was going on down the track. It didn't matter, anyway, because it was a sunny afternoon and I had no plans, so I made it my plan to sit right there and absorb the atmosphere while waiting for the train to roll out. I alternated between reading from Neruda's Odas Elementales and jotting little blurbs in my notebook, pausing every so often to look over at the tracks for signs of any movement.

All the while I was conscious of the deep rumbling of the running motor. I could hear it, but mostly I felt it. It ran through the rails like an electric current, seeped into the ground where the earth met its voice with is own and together they resonated in arrhythmic pulsating harmonious humming. Concentrated latent energy was making itself known to me, like something fantastic was about to happen. I waited, listened, felt, and marveled at the communion of this monstrous child of the man-made industrial age with this terrestrial child of the ageless universe.

The engineer waved as the groaning steel caterpillar crawled along the rails, leaving the station for the open country of the west, wild and limitless. I smiled, and waved back.


chrome3d said...

It´s always fun to wave them when they go by, although the last time was a long time ago, but it doesn´t matter because we live in ageless universe.

Finn said...

The Station Agent debe tiene una lugar especial en su corazon juzgando por este comentario.