16 February 2012


Dear readers, it has been a slow month here in the Republic of Gumbolia.  Slow in a writerly sense, I mean.  I want to offer up something for the edification and delight of you.  But I'm blocked.  Or maybe just lazy.

My mind is a shattered mirror tumbling through space.  The sun, moon and stars reflected by a thousand brilliant shards to diffuse their light across the ether.  Gah.

Around the end of January I went for a walk along my beloved Patapsco River.  I was of a mind to catch some fresh air and sunlight on an unusually warm winter day.  Good for the body and soul, it was.  I saw not one but two freight trains as I ambled.  Two trains in one afternoon was also somewhat unusual.

The second train was stopped on the tracks, up the embankment from the river where the swinging footbridge crosses the water.  I could hear the thrumming of the idle engines as I strolled up the path to the bridge.  I scaled the small slope to the tracks for a better view.  The locomotive was right there, the head of a long line of what appeared to be ore or coal carriers.  The cab brooded over the tracks with a slight ominous air caused by the deep tint of the windshields.  Eyes of a giant, holding me in its gaze.

It was the engine noise that gave me the analogy I was looking for.  Deep, edging into that which is more felt than heard, the locomotive hummed and hissed.  There was no mistaking the feeling of great power held in check, awaiting release.

I stood on the gravel bed and felt the power vibrate up through my boots.  I yearned for it.  I wished for some way to store it for later, but there was no container that would hold such energy.

A vibration in the earth.  Hulking machinery idling in a river valley among the leafless trees. Waiting, brooding. This is me, shifting and ticking over while awaiting a signal to let the power go.  This is my winter.  Winter will be over soon.  I sense spring in the roots of me, ready to sweep away the cobwebs.


  1. Nice piece I really enjoyed that.
    Cheers, Sausage...

  2. I enjoyed it too - refreshing read.

    Anna :o]

  3. Everything in my mind's eye was black and white for this piece, because the imagery -- trains, engines, bridges, tracks -- seemed more out of the Depression era than today (at least for me). I would think it would be very comforting to hear the passing trains in the distance from where I lived, as if the world was always moving.

  4. I live close to the railroad tracks (still up for debate if its the good side or bad side), and find the trains rumbling sounds quite comforting.

    Hope all is well with you Gumby.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...