Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Way it all Would Go

How could it all just be gone? How is it possible that something so big would simply disappear into the shadows of history? I've traveled and photographed almost every part of the Western Extension, and the thing that hits me most is the scale of what they did and then, 70 years later, what they undid. From Terry, MT in the east, to Seattle and Tacoma in the west. It is all just gone.

I've shared a lot of stories and photos now that this blog is about two years old. I've reminisced about the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse, the huge trestles of the Bitterroots, the silence of a day spent in Harlowton, even the lonesome winds that blow across the Northern Montana Lines. But every once in awhile, the scale of this beast just gets to me. The hundreds and hundreds of miles that are marked by little more than a gravel path, or an old telephone pole are haunting. To come across an old milepost still fixed to a lineside pole and actually think that milepost 1899 means that I'm 1899 miles from Chicago makes me feel really small. To know that there's no way to get back there makes me really sad.

One day, perhaps I'll understand why I continue to head out to these quiet places to look for the lost. Perhaps one day, God can explain why it sits so heavily on my heart. Perhaps one day, He can explain why it all went this way and why a few of us care so much about it.

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