Slowing Down

Remember the proximity of the train to my sleeping spot? If you’re just joining my journey, you can read about it here. At 2:30 in the morning, I received a not so gentle reminder! There are no train whistles and no clanging railroad crossings as the trains zoom through this section of the Flint Hills, no announcement that a train is arriving. Sure you can hear it coming, but I can tell you my sleeping brain sure didn’t register it until it was RIGHT THERE. I awoke with the unnerving confusion that often accompanies a jolt from deep sleep.

Once I knew where I was and what was happening, I had two realizations. First, trains passing right outside your window at that hour seem VERY loud and VERY fast, I don’t recall the cement floors of the bunkhouse shaking with any of the other trains passing during the day. Second, the train seems to have no end; it felt like 30 minutes passed while I lie there wide awake waiting for the quiet to return. Soothing was the farthest thing from my mind as this train passed. I now know there can, in fact, be too much train.

Several hours later, when the morning sun peeked through the dishtowel curtains of the bunkhouse I was appreciative of this much more peaceful wake up call. I can abuse the snooze button with the best of them, but when the sunrise beckons me, I am up quickly and out the door to enjoy it. I have never understood those who don’t stop to watch the sun rise and set. Don’t just stop and smell the roses, stop and take a moment to watch the day begin and end, you’ll thank yourself for it.

Many of my past vacations have had a defined schedule. Once we were up, it was time to go, whether we were off to the next town or going out sightseeing. I was feeling anxious about not having a schedule, as though I should hurry up and get going, though I had no where to be and certainly no clock ticking against me. I reminded myself to slow down and enjoy my morning. I turned on the coffee pot and started making one of my favorites for breakfast; biscuits and gravy with a fried egg on top. These items are no longer a staple in my diet, but it was vacation, after all! As I sat next to the train tracks with my coffee and breakfast, a few trains passed by and I again felt comforted by their rhythmic sounds.

The morning air was chilly, so I poured myself a second cup of coffee, picked up a quilt and moved to the front porch to sit in the sun with my new coloring book. Coloring is something I’ve always enjoyed as a “zoning out” activity. Books and crayons can always be found at my house and it is generally the first activity I suggest when children visit. I’m super happy coloring has transitioned to a socially acceptable adult pastime.

My reward for slowing down and enjoying my morning was the sense of urgency passing; something I would do good to remember in my every day life. I was in a calm and present state, ready to get out and begin day two of my Flint Hills adventure.

3 thoughts on “Slowing Down

  1. Rebecca says:

    You have a way of writing that really gives readers a sense of ‘place.’ You’re not just describing the details, you’re bringing us there with you – and that can only happen when the writing comes from a passionate place. I believe you’ll end up living in the Flint Hills someday, but until then? I’m glad they’re within driving distance for you! (I grew up in Wyoming and understand the “pull” that insists on leading you back to where your heart feels at home.)

    Liked by 1 person

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