Times Chronicle & Public Spirit


- By Terry Alburger

I’m one of those lucky few who enjoy a scenic and peaceful commute to and from work. I pass parks, streams, ponds, farms and lots of wooded areas. With few exceptions, it is a calming and serene drive. Most days.

Yesterday, however, there was an interestin­g twist. As I approached a railroad crossing, I saw that there was a long line of cars stopped, and ahead of us was a freight train, which had come to a complete stop, bisecting my commute.

This train went on as far as I could see, in both directions, and there was no indication that it planned on going anywhere. After a few minutes, cars in front of me started to perform three-point turns and head back the way they came. I contemplat­ed this maneuver, but, being an optimist, I waited a few more minutes.

I waited ... I waited … I waited … to no avail. It seems we as human beings have a hard time just sitting still. We need to be in motion. So, I turned around and headed back the way the rest of the traffic was going. Surely, those people knew something I didn’t.

The beauty of a Plan B is that you get to see new, unplanned vista. It is a small town, and I thought I knew the lay of the land. But it had all changed! I guess COVID-19 created some empty stores, and opportunit­y created some new ones. Interestin­g which ones survived.

This rerouted trip suddenly came to a stop as I realized that same railroad track ran across this road as well, and much to my surprise, that same train was that long! It blocked two railroad crossings, a good distance apart.

My first reaction was laughter and a resounding, “You have got to be kidding!”

I think it was God’s way of telling me to slow down. Enjoy the view. Relax. I’m most definitely not the one in control! Message received.

Do you know how bright blue the sky was yesterday morning? A deep blue, dotted with fluffy white clouds. I would not have noticed had I not been sidelined by this long, mechanical snake blocking two different crossings.

I had time to think, time to ponder and even time for a chat with God. It was quiet time, well-needed and wellapprec­iated. Every once in awhile we are given opportunit­ies to enjoy some solitude, and speaking for myself, most times, I don’t recognize them as such.

A traffic jam, constructi­on delays, trains, all good times to sit still, breathe deep and count your blessings. Trust me, start listing them and there will be many. If you’re going through a bad time, you can still be grateful for the air you breathe, the roof over your head or good friends. There’s always something.

Just as you may adjust your route depending on the circumstan­ces, so you can also adjust your state of mind. I imagine I could have gotten angry at the train, at the situation, at the fact that I would be getting to work a few minutes later than planned … but why?

I would much rather give it a positive spin and laugh at the irony of my rushing out of one situation, only to be sidelined by that same situation, in a different location. It was completely out of my control.

I guess my Polyanna-type personalit­y helps me in times like this. Life is beautiful, but sometimes the beauty is hidden, and you have to search for it. It may even be hibernatin­g, but I promise, it will awaken, and once again grace your days with smiles.

 ?? PIXABAY ?? Time spent stopped by a train at a railroad crossing can be well spent if you accept that the situation is out of your control.
PIXABAY Time spent stopped by a train at a railroad crossing can be well spent if you accept that the situation is out of your control.

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