Derailed and Rerailed: A Writer Wednesday Post

July 24th, 2013 | Posted by Irene in Essays

Old Rail

        Ol’ Rail, photo & all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden, 2013

To listen to this post, please click here: Derailed and Rerailed

derailment occurred on MetroNorth last week, the commuter train that I and thousands take in and out of Manhattan. Happily, there were no injuries—it was ten cars full of garbage–but it happened at the very narrowest, rockiest section of the railroad, blocking passage for three days. Yet by Monday everything was back to normal.

How on earth did they do it? You can see in a video The New York Times called “surprisingly fascinating.” I’ll share with you what interested me.

Using a huge crane, they lift a big freight box off a derailed car and settle it onto another car on the parallel track. It was almost like the old “15” puzzle, with only one small useable space.

What was most revelatory to me was how they made that useable space. They dismantled a section of tracks! Seeing the rails and crossties all undone amazed me. Why? Because the railroad seems permanent. Not unlike certain systems of belief, which take our minds from place to place.

Even though we forget, both are made of components which can be disassembled when we get derailed. When our trains of thought are not smoothly conveying us where we want to go, we can jump the rails, or even reroute our whole journey.

It’s also grand to see how people of clever vision working together can accomplish what looks impassible and impossible.


What’s gotten you back on track?

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  • Karen Beckwith

    darlin’ gal: I listened to this three times. it’s wonderful!

    • IreneOGarden

      Thanks ever so!

      • Debra Griner

        Reading your upbeat posts always puts me back on track, Irene!

        • IreneOGarden

          Thanks, Debra! Always glad to ride the rails with you–

  • Linda O’Brien

    Several thoughts come to mind – as my mind jumps while talking to my husband he rolls his neck (like a flock of birds going over) and just murmurs “snaps, snaps” – his term for brain cell jumping. But if I am talking to a lady friend, well, we just know what we are talking about and carry on. I bet that there were many women involved in the planning as they seem to think more creatively and outside the box – but honestly, we need the strong male back to carry out most of our resolutions. Happy day!

    • IreneOGarden

      I like the idea of snaps! Thanks for continuing to think outside the box–

  • Mark R


    Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

    Will Rogers

    “THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER BUT EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT “…. I must admit, there have been periods of my life when I repeated mistakes again and again / MIGHT A WELL HAVE BEEN BANGING MY HEAD AGAINST THE FLOOR….. The interesting thing about your post is that there was only one way for the train to get through i.e. it had ONLY that path at that specific point…. but we traveling souls had other choices for transport …… and the universes options seem endless, really, if we allow ourselves to look at the other options when our emotional and spiritual lives meet an impasse… all one need do is ask and look . love you, Irene !

    • IreneOGarden

      We’ve all banged our heads more than once– occasionally some sense gets knocked in there! Thanks, Mark–

  • Scott

    I am thinking about what sections of track in my own life I might want to dismantle. Bring in the cranes!

    • IreneOGarden

      Sounds like an old song from a nameless Broadway musical–Send In The Cranes!
      Thanks, fella–

  • ccdewolf

    When I crashed and lay thrashing, broken and confused, some angels came along, lifted me up, and helped me see that there was more life ahead. You, dear Irene, were one of those angels. Thank you for all your many talents and healing vision always so generously shared.

    • I am very humbled, C-C–thank you–

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