Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Ever Expanding Universe (The Tracks)

Some days, you catch it. There's something magical out there, and you need to go hunt for it. And if you're lucky, you just might catch a mind-bending glimpse.

Like a giant in in the land where I once felt like an ant, I embarked on an adventure tonight. With the sun hanging high in the bright spring-house of the sky a little longer each day, I checked the sunset time on google and headed over to a familiar old haunt; the neighbourhood train tracks. Many a morning and night, I found myself as a youngster drawn to those tracks. They were my path to and from high school for many years. I listened to Gish on cassette more times than I can count. One night, during college, I had a state of the union talk about some hard times on the tracks with one of my best friends Steve, and he listened, and we appreciated a well-worn friendship. I've prayed there. Rarely used by trains in my childhood, and almost never now, they are a monument of my life path. There was always something illuminating about them that brought my dreams to life. I was never a massive train enthusiast, but I guess I saw that they led somewhere off in the distance. I've always been a little obsessed with the actual lines of the rails, and their mysterious disappearance beyond the snag of my eye.

Armed with my camera tonight, as a much older man than I was in those rampart days of my space-pirate youth, I climbed the same hill to get to the summit. The fields behind the adjacent townhouses were aglow with an orangey spectre. The sun dogs were barking - moving and hinting at something beautiful I couldn't quite see. I thought about a lot of things as I shot a few random snaps. I even climbed an old abandoned train tower (that felt quite rickety and was rusted to hell) and got a few quick magical snaps of the boomy, brazen ball of fire making its descent into the horizon for yet another night. My hands felt like freezer meat after a few minutes of being up there, as I only had my polar bear hoodie and no gloves (and -2 is not the warmest of spring temperatures). I was alone, and completely immersed in the dying light.

As I left the tracks and descended the half-snowy, half-muddy hill, I heard the crust breaking beneath my feet. And I thought about how my life has changed in many ways, and how in many ways, it's just beginning, and how I've taken a road less traveled. Not an easy road, and not a road for the faint of heart, but an enriching, exciting, bittersweet and love-filled one, nonetheless. And for a moment, as I crossed the field below the looming apartment building complex by the shoddy tennis courts, I stared at the orangey field beside the tracks, and couldn't help but be overcome, if only for a moment, by raw, unbridled emotion. I let the silence wash over me as I stared into the sinking sun, and I felt a few tears welling up in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I exhaled. I found myself saying the words 'thank you', for no apparent reason - but there in that golden, frozen moment, it seemed to make perfect sense.

And in a blinding instant, I realized that being thankful is all at once a massive surrender, and a universal key that unlocks many things. Our generation is often one of complaint and anger and complacency and wanton distress - but where we often fail is that we don't know where we are lucky. To know what I have known and to see what I have seen, I know that every moment is gain. Every mad, happy, sad, angry, terrible, beautiful minute. It's a fucking carousel - it whirs, it spins and it lights up in an enchanting manner, and then it is over. The failures. The lies. The rejected love. The triumphs. The gut-sting laughter. The moments where a friend let a guard down and let you into the painful realness. The music. The awakenings. The anxiety. The hurt. The moments of being bullied. The uncool nights of teenage-dom and longing to be different. The growth into who you are - and the sobering realization that as fucked up as we may be, the more you grow into the real you, the more you are unknowingly inspiring others to do the same.

And here I sit, typing - recalling all of it. Clicking on my keys. Putting another day to rest. And I am overcome. And thankful.

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