Updated: Feb 4, 2018
The journey continues; the landscape rushing past is one of never-ending Evergreen.
I have rode the train along this section of Highway 401 so many times, the landscape is permanently imprinted upon my mind. During my university years, it became such a familiar sight, it was almost easy to turn away from those views and concentrate on the Dickens novel Bleak House. Almost. The novel I have brought today, lies ignored; tucked safely inside the netting that also contains the Safety Information I won't read either.
The familiar becomes boring after awhile. One finds it harder and harder to find value in the things that have become Old. Such is the way of a world which places the Fresh and New upon a gilded pedestal. How many have learned that taking the time to see with Fresh Eyes, can turn something old - magical again? We find the value we seek.
The green fields beyond the window are lush and beautiful. Not much has changed here in 20 years, yet there is plenty to reflect upon. I am struck by how odd it is, that looking outward has caused me to look deeper inward. What is it about a tree -- that makes me think of the past?
There it stands. Quiet and still.
A living, silent storage of all that has passed before. Each ring a holder of some memory that it seals up inside itself, and which only can be revealed by cutting deep into its centre. Others stand so tall, I imagine they must also be able to see what lies ahead. And each one guards its testimony, no matter the forceful gale that might blow its cover upon the frozen ground.
Suddenly the blur of those silent, green sentinels of the past makes me dizzy. I turn from the window and the view is quite different. Looking in -- viewing out. Curiouser. All around me, heads are bent. This one reading. This one listening to music. That one with fingers flying furiously across a keyboard. The sound of the keys strike a rhythm that is the only noise amongst we; these silent and guarded beings.
I can't help but wonder: we all carry secrets of the past. Locked deep inside. If you were to cut us open, you'd find each mystery sealed up in patterns. As I look around at my fellow passengers, the weight of our collective burdens over-crowds the baggage limit, and leaves this enclosed space a claustrophobic journey on rails. Surely it is not I alone who senses this as the reason for our bent heads. Our pensive window gazing and deep concentration on the latest bestseller.
Surely it cannot be why we all look elsewhere -- but at each other? What if I did see the same secret pain in your eyes? What is the worst that can happen?
It is then that I realize the somewhat scary truth: we are uncomfortable with pain. Like trees battered against a blowing wind, bent and twisted by the force, we fight to hold onto those secrets deep within. We stand, firm in the notion that our numbers can shield us from that external force. Though we may be a forest in numbers, as each tree ultimately stands alone, we too may travel the same route and share similar experiences; yet..... we ultimately travel Alone.
You and I; we've been here before. You may know my secret places, and I, yours. But the greater secret, the one we bend our heads and slump our shoulders to protect....is:
none of us really knows where we are going.
Only that we must go onward. Our years, our secrets; hidden and measured like tree rings. Preserved in silence, waiting one day to be laid bare.
This is the fear that keeps my gaze locked upon that evergreen blur. Some day, that wind is going to blow hard...and all the carefully tended secrets: will be heard whispering through the leaves. Scattered. Fallen.
And all you will see, is me: bent and bare.