Derailed and Rerailed: A Writer Wednesday PostJuly 24th, 2013 | Posted by in Essays
Ol’ Rail, photo & all text ⓒ Irene O’Garden, 2013
To listen to this post, please click here: Derailed and Rerailed
A 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?