I went for a walk – a long walk in the rain, one morning. I slipped along through a forest and went where the trains go. I went… in. And I disappeared. All around was fog and mist, and all was still. The only thing I perceived that moved at all were the clover petals that quivered each time a droplet rolled away and fell back to the soil. There were ferns, too, and leafy trees that bent and arched above me to obscure the sky. I had followed the tracks and stepped into the underworld, a place I felt could hardly be real. I waited for a train to appear and shake the earth and show me up from down, out of the leafy subway to the sky and the sun.
I’ve learned that there are places where the roads and trains go, where machines and people travel but seldom walk. In the mountainous places, there are mountains. And then there are streams and rivers that flow between them, and lakes, and even some meadows and swamplands. The wild lands are full of secrets. There are places where the iron tracks gleam and disappear in a puff of mist, where the wild clover is wet, and the ancient railroad beams are sunken with the memories of a different time, when the old forests were hewn down. I disappeared into the old forests, into reveries of old locomotives chugging through virgin timber. I know it was all there, it was all very real not long ago.
I saw, once, that the illusionist’s smoke is where the magic prevails. I’ve learned that the forest fog does the same to me. I can escape the dreamy illusions and compartmentalize reality, but I don’t want to. I love it when the mist and the silence help me disappear. I love it when the profoundness of creation overcomes my sensibility – because that’s really why I came here. All around me, and under me, there is rebirth. The old trees live on. I came here to disappear, to die and be reborn.
Photograph: Old B&M Railroad. White Mountain Region, New Hampshire – June 2022.
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