Me in Engine #9

Me in Engine #9, Jasper, Alberta.

We tend to perceive time as linear, as running in a straight line out behind us and stretching unbending before us. I suspect that’s not exactly how it works, and many physicists have some interesting theories about the nature of time, how it moves, and how it flows. These ideas fascinate me, but right now, I want to write about my personal experience of time, a narrower perspective, a snapshot of time as I see it.

Listen to me read this post:

Lately, I see myself as The Little Engine That Could sitting on a short rail line with only a few metres behind me and only a few in front. Gone is the past and there’s no future in sight. I can’t seem to move ahead and I sure can’t go back. And so I sit stalled, and it seems as though time is moving around me, like water around rocks whose dry tops poke out from the current.

Best Caboose

A caboose in the distance on a hot, August evening.

It’s not the worst feeling I’ve ever experienced, not by a long way. It’s just different for someone who likes action, who likes to change, who likes to feel she’s moving along with time. In fact, I find myself enjoying this chance to quietly watch as life moves around my still, stuck form. It’s interesting if a bit disconcerting because, sitting still like this, everything seems so close up as it passes by. I see more detail in all that comes my way.

Of course, I understand that whether I am aware of it or not, time is moving me along. None of us ever stands still. Not really. We are altered and changed moment to moment. Cells die and are regenerated constantly. We all age, babies are born every day and all the time, and every day, people die. I realize that although I feel static, the very existence of time itself forces me to be dynamic until I no longer exist.

And yet for the time being, I feel like more an observer than a participant in all these swirling changes, all this movement. Soon, I know that time will seem to open up again before me with all its perceived possibilities, and I’ll roll on down the line. For now, I’ll do my best to stay patiently put while time makes its way around me, coming in close but never quite touching me. It seems I have no other choice while I’m stalled on the tracks.


A passing train on an Alberta highway in March.


2 Comments on “Stalled”

  1. Lori, I read this with real understanding, a sense of “Yes, I recognize that.” I have a card I keep taped to the file cabinet right next to my desk: “Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think that you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

    I don’t know, honestly, if it is true in itself or simply an “assuagement” to the hard truths of life, BUT I do believe it is a necessary attitude to adopt if one is to keep going, dreams alive, whatever comes.

    Liked by 1 person

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