Saturday, July 14, 2012
So fundamental is this balance and our appreciation of light our vernacular includes expressions like, "dawning of a new day" or "age." And despite the presence of darkness for half of a 24 hour period, we yet refer to these as a day.
It is also true, however, that not all dawns bring with them hope no matter how brightly the sun shines. These are days when a "John Wayne Moment" never happens. These are stories where the night settles and refuses to leave, forever separating itself from the hopeful dawn of something new and better. The trek west along the Milwaukee Road's Pacific Extension continually brings to mind one of these darker stories. Near MP 1175 the right of way is still discernible as a gentle rise in the ground. Time has made it difficult to see, but it still rolls by in the distance behind the large tree. The gentle curve of the right of way here belies the original design of the railroad and its transcontinental purposes. On this day, the grasses cover it well in warm Montana sun while they gently sway in the breezes that traverse these plains.
Despite these warm summer tidings, night has settled here and does not relinquish her grip. The promise of sunrise and a new day for the old railroad seems distant and forgotten. The John Wayne Moment never happened and daylight has seemingly fled. The quiet that has replaced the things that were is only one of many cues that we journey westward in an unending night.