Early morning train whistles always leave me behind, wondering where the train is going, who is on the train and why. The whistles blow loudest at busy intersections, warning people to stay off the tracks, to not make dreadful mistakes. If only we had train whistles in our own lives as loud, to warn us of mistakes we were about to make, those split-second decisions that send us down wrong paths. For a loving, happy life, take the right fork. For unknowns, take the left fork. Or a middle fork, which might very well drop us off at a point of no return, to quick sand or an abyss. Robert Frost, I think, may not have fully understood what all of the ‘roads less traveled’ might possibly reveal in each of our lives. Some good. Some not so good. Some that can never be undone.
Regardless of why some people might be on trains I see passing me by (and I am speaking of passenger trains, or sometimes commuter trains) maybe they are going cross town in a large city to work, I tell myself, or to an appointment, or to visit someone seriously ill. We never know. They could even be traveling with no end destination in mind, and that thought can unnerve me in a hurry. People with no destination in their minds must be lonely, I think, or running away from someone or something. I can’t imagine people being on a train going ‘just anywhere’ for an adventure, unless the adventure is the reason they are there, and then going home again would be their end destination. But somebody on a train, flipping a coin to see where they might get off and start a new life could keep me awake a few nights, unless it was a new novel I was reading. Now that could be a happy thought. I would not have to lose sleep over that one!
But the reality is that people are on trains, planes, buses all the time, for reasons that are not so good, and sometimes through no fault of their own. They are traveling and to where they do not fully understand, not to mention being separated from family and loved ones, especially their children, no matter the age ~ whether infants, teens or kids in between, as parents seek asylum in the United States. My heart feels heavy as stone on contemplating such a fate for any parent, and being a woman myself, my mind goes first to the mothers. Knowing I can do little about this except pray for such insanity to stop and to vote in November, does little to ease my mind.
But I do vote. It just does not seem to matter much anymore, at least not to me. I am grateful my children are grown, grand kids well taken care of, and I know where they all are. That never used to be the thing people were the most thankful for, as there was always talk of our health, or good jobs, better vacations, definitely more salary, but for me ~ knowing where my children were was hands down the ultimate gift.
Now I pray nightly that other mothers will be able to say this, as well, and if not now, then soon. I’ve always thought of our country as being one of out reach and abundance. Dan Rather says we must stay strong and act with courage. He’s right, I know, but in the face of such disappointment, it’s easier said than done. No matter what else happens, I am sure we all need to think of these parents and children in our prayers, and pray for ease for the children in dealing with their unsure trauma in the years to come. The next time I hear a train whistle I know I will be praying for all of the souls on board, and their families, some lost to them for the time being, and I hope with all of my heart, not forever.