I had taken a train ride across the country. Along the way the train stopped in a series of small towns the farther west the train pushed, adding cars, deleting them. Moving westward. There was a six mile tunnel that pitched the lot of us riding into a definite blackness that was as fascinating as it was uncomfortable. Everyone smoked cigarettes then and there was a room for us under the dining car. Those small towns reverberated. Each one a place where the train station remained the same mysterious place it aways had been. A depot for imagination as much as travel. And if you stared at the buildings, their bricks and stones faded into supplication and removed themselves from sequential meaning. It could have been any era at all. Most cities will have a spot like that, too, a piece of their hidden past that envelops all time, not just one era, neither fully of the past, nor fully present, mostly absent of the future. It’s much like developing a photograph, another way to corrupt the natural essence of now and slip out of the acknowledged timeline. Chemicals colliding with treated paper committed to a past that’s just a few decades old itself. Which ones will come back to life? Who will watch them?
Images by Laura Cherry
Text by Hank Cherry