I have to admit I’ve been looking backwards lately. Thoughts of “what if I had done” and “why did I” coupled with “if only’s” seem to wreak havoc in my mind.
Holidays, and in my case, a birthday tend to stir the pot of memories, blending truth with fiction and facts with blurs.
I’ve been on the back of the train for a while. I’ve been waving at the people, reliving the scenery of the past, hoping to come back to places that are long gone.
As fun as it is to reminisce about the past, those times when laughter filled the train car, the train track was smooth and seemingly endless, and the luggage bursting with all the basic necessities perched above our heads in the rack, it’s just as easy to dwell on the opposite.
I remember the time the luggage jiggled out, spilling its contents onto the floor.
I feel the shaking and rattling of past trips where the tracks were misaligned in places and the trip was uncomfortable.
Thoughts of taking the train together one way and coming back alone on the return trip tend to clutter my mind and overshadow the good times.
The train has taken me to a thousand places over the years—places that have left me breathless, places that have introduced me to lifelong friends, places that have roared with laughter, places that have scooped me up in their magic, places that have snatched my words and left me speechless.
The train has also let me pass through places that were barren, landscapes that were so desolate they seemed to go on for an eternity. These were stops on the journey that I didn’t buy a ticket for and certainly wouldn’t choose to travel to again. And yet, I find myself...sometimes...traveling to them again in my mind. Standing at the back of the caboose experiencing the pain again.
I haven’t taken the time to ask the Conductor where we are headed or even more importantly, where we are NOW.
I have forgotten about the exciting possibilities of everyday, the connections that are waiting at the train stop, the differences I can make today.
I hear the whistle, the slowing of the wheels, the countryside moves past me at a slower rate.
I step inside, gather my belongings, and make a choice.
Today. Today. I’ll step off the train today and just be present.
Paula Estelle Jackson
Written in March 23, 2021
Photo taken on a backroad between Whiteface, Texas and Tatum, New Mexico
HUMOR-IST (is that a word?) I can find and expel (the word expel makes me think of passing gas) humor in most moments of life