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.