Friday, June 01, 2012

The Voice that Calls

Location:  West of Sheffield, MT
MP 1142

There are so many ways to look backwards through the lens of time.  As I write this in 2012, I look back through almost ten years to this small point out on the big plains of Montana.  The year was 2003 and there was a voice that had called me out here, to pursue something bigger than myself.  Perhaps it is strange, but the Lord has always been quite willing to speak and walk with me through history and trains. 

As I stood here in 2003, the look backwards was to 1980 when some of the last trains rolled this way.    The world was a different place then, back when the trestle piers that peak just above the tall grasses supported America's final transcontinental.  Or perhaps the look back went even further to the early 60s when the last passenger trains bound for Seattle passed this way.  Today's Empire Builder captures some of the feel of the Montana Plains at speed, but I can only imagine that the Hiawathas and Columbians were an experience all their own.  In prior lifetimes, I have laid awake at night aboard the darkened Superliners of the Builder, staring out at the thick darkness of lonesome prairie surrounding the train.  Or I have marveled at the broad expanse of grasslands under a high afternoon sun from a lounge car making time along well maintained BN main.  That other travelers have done the same here, near MP 1142, atop missing trestles and overgrown mainline adds depths to the remains. 

Soon enough, the journey west will put us under wire at Harlowton and in the shadows of famous Little Joe Electrics or Boxcabs.  The mountains and tunnels lie ahead but for now we are surrounded by big sky blues and a haunting voice calling travelers like you and I to stop and listen.  The journey west continues.
 
"... that voice which called thee at first, shall call thee yet again" --C. Spurgeon

1 comment:

oamundsen said...

Another wonderful piece of writing to match the poignant photo, thanks Leland. You are correct about the magic of looking out the window of a sleeper as your train crosses endless miles of plains..winter is a grand time for this but, heck, anytime on a train is grand.