August 27, 2006

Off the Track

(Photo by punkindunkin; thank you!)


There's another train, there always is
Maybe the next one is yours
Get up and climb aboard another train.
~ Gene Morton, in "Another Train," on One Big Joke
(although I like Cindy Kallet's version even better)

I got way off track a few days back. I get like that. I have always been drawn to the order represented by a printed train schedule, and I seem to have trouble remembering that even something that official-looking is just an idea. A plan. A set of hoped-for outcomes. I put together the little train schedules of my life, and get very attached to them. Except that they only truly exist in my head. And sometimes the universe – as embodied by my wife, our son, or the weather, for example – has a different plan.

At night, sitting in my bed with my laptop on my lap, I can hear the train whistle as it warns anyone who might be thinking about doubting the bells and flashing lights at the crossing.

You'd think by now that I would have learned to pay attention to the no-less-obvious signs in my own life. But as a wise friend once said to me, "Lessons will be repeated until learned." Guess this may mean that I'm destined to be sitting in the back of the class taking the same notes again for who knows how long. Sigh.

But life don't clickety clack down a straight line track
It comes together and it comes apart.

~ Ferron, in "Ain't Life A Brook," on Still Riot

Thanks to the good women of Mama Says Om
for whispering "train" in my ear.
Want to see what others heard?

7 comments:

Lillithmother said...

Is it getting off track, or are we re-routed back onto the Universe's track?!

punkindunkin said...

Isn't the Chinese definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results? I heard that somewhere.

Good picture. It's an definitely an oldie of mine.

jaxter said...

I'll be there in the back taking notes right along with you...it amazes me - this process of learning...
Great pic by the way.

Stacy said...

And sometimes its a whole new track which is scary at first and then becomes okay and then even good. Hang in there.

Jen W. said...

I once missed a train, stepped into the station, sat down, put on my headphones, and heard those very words. "There's another train, there always is."

n.b. said...

Great photo, and I enjoyed the little essay too. It has taken me a long time, as well, to realize that something that looks official and set in stone is subject to human nature and mother nature and is simply, as you say, a plan. I am still astonished by this knowledge, so I guess I have not known it for a real long time yet, either.

Shelley said...

Thank you all for your kind words and stories.

Feeling better now.