Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Looking on the Bright Side

April 21, 2022

We live in an instant gratification society. Information is literally at our fingertips. Wonder about something? Google it, and seconds later, the answer appears on your phone screen (or, at least, AN answer pops up on the screen.)

Forget those old cliches about stopping to smell the roses: We want to be down the road and on to the next thing at 55 MPH (or maybe faster). 

I was on my way home from meeting with three high school classmates. It was a beautiful spring evening at the park, and I was filled up from a brown bag supper and a healthy serving of good conversation.

But when I turned on to the Zenith Road, my way home was blocked by a train. And it was just sitting there. It was one of those days when I hadn't gotten my Wordle puzzle earlier in the day, so I had let it sit and marinate, so to speak. I hadn't taken time to come back to it, so I pulled out my phone and started contemplating five-letter words. 

But then, I noticed another five-letter word happening to my left: SHINE. The sunset was creating a free LIGHT show outside my driver's side window. The sunsets in recent days hadn't been anything spectacular. So this LIGHT show was a special TREAT. (I may have still been looking for five-letter words, at least subconsciously.)

I backed up, then pulled forward, then backed up again. (It was the Zenith Road, so there was no one behind me.)

I tried to position the beam of light through a gap in the elevator. It wasn't particularly successful, but it passed the time.

I drove down the lane for different angles. You can get a lot of different angles in 30 minutes, in case you were wondering. 

A string of locomotives eventually headed west, departing just like an old western movie cowboy into the sunset.


Surely this would be the end of my wait, I thought. I drove back to the Zenith Road. And then the locomotives came back toward me. And there it - and I - sat.

My camera's "eye" saw things more "pink" than my phone camera.

I finally decided it was time to drive a mile east and hope the train didn't stretch that far. (It was close, but the crossing was clear.)

The next day, my friend, Diana, posted a photo she had taken on her drive home, too, and I commented, along with posting a picture I'd taken from my spot at Zenith. She said, "We were hoping you would get the sun going down! It was a big red ball - beautiful! But the dang elevator was in your way!'

Diana's sunset photo posted to Facebook, taken from a car window

Yes, but it was beautiful from my angle, too. And I have a particular affinity for the Zenith elevator, since it's been such an integral part of our farming journey.

I know that trains aren't supposed to block a road for that long. I could get all "huffy" about it. But why let it ruin my good mood? It kind of went along with an email devotional I had saved:

A Time to Think

Flowers grow out of dark moments. 

 –Sister Mary Corita Kent, artist and educator

A Time to Act

Change your thoughts and change your life.

A Time to Pray

Dear God, help me always to see beyond my fears (and frustrations) to the beauty of Your creation.

It seems like a good philosophy for life.



  1. Thank you train! Perfect timig to be delayed. A slower pace is not far away. This made me think of all the mercy dashes you've made over the years for Randy. A stopped train would not have been welcome at all. You won't miss them.

    1. That's true. If I would have had to be somewhere (coming or going), I would have looked for an alternative route much more quickly! But the beauty sure made this particular wait worth it.