Monday, December 10, 2007

Reflection on the right side of the tracks

Journey to...?
Lancaster, Ontario
August 2007

The scene: A small town far enough away from the nearest big city that complete strangers spontaneously walk up to you on the main drag and start chatting with you about anything and everything. Just north of the main business district, the road is bisected by the main rail line that carries passenger and freight traffic.

In the few hours that we spent in this picture perfect place, countless trains roared through the intersection, cutting the town in two and stopping residents in their tracks. What struck me was how they responded to the interruption. Motorists didn't honk each other or otherwise fume at the wheel. Pedestrians didn't tune out to iPods or tap their feet impatiently as the trains rumbled past.

Instead, in a scene that just wouldn't happen in my adopted hometown of London, people spoke with each other. Parents played with their stroller-bound kids. Kids counted the passing cars. They accepted the interruption, made the best of it.

They weren't rushed. Their destination wasn't going anywhere. I couldn't help but think that they were subtly teaching outside observers like me an important life lesson.

Your turn: Avoiding the rush. Please discuss.

One more thing: Here's another perspective on our unanticipated afternoon in this very special place. I think I need to spend more time observing life in places where folks still know how to appreciate the simpler things.


John said...

Maybe it's just a romantic notion, but I think life in a small town is simpler because their are fewer distractions. People there seem to instinctively know that it's people that matter and progress isn't measured in population growth, but in personal growth.

Toni said...

That's a beautiful lesson in patience and making good use of time while waiting -- reconnecting with those who are also waiting!

Avoiding the rush... Crowds and traffic jams upset me so I've learned the value of daydreaming!

Moi said...

I am not rushing anywhere.....i revel in stopping by and smelling the proverbial rose :)

Awareness said...

We don't have many trains coming through this town anymore, but a good conversation can be drummed up in a matter of seconds at the corner Deli.

My husband and I have discussed the idea of moving back to s. Ontario where our families and childhood friends live. One of the main reasons for staying put is the lifestyle. It has meant some sacrifices, career wise, but the pace and the friendliness of Fredericton far outweighs any urge to leave.

People do speak to one another around here.

Bubblehead said...

Living in Wyoming you get used to being slowed down by the random. Be it Oil Field trucks grinding up the hill, a rancher moving his cattle across the highway, or being trapped by a passing herd of thousands of elk.

I keep a pair of binoculars in each of my cars on on the windowsill in my kitchen so I can stop and admire the wildlife and the sunsets, and the snow on the mountaintops.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

In think whether in a big or small town, it is a choice we must make to relax. Some enviroments do make it easier BUT often we don't get to choose the town we are in. (perhaps a job, family, etc brought us there)

I am learning that more and more while raising my babies. I am feeling more and more strongly compelled to teach them how to live a more simple and less frantic life. (even though I live in a franticly rushed area)

Interesting blog! Keep it up and have fun.

Lylah said...

great post....lylah

BreadBox said...

The pylons need to be there in the picture for so many reasons.... not least of these because they are there in reality.
But at the same time, so often I see them and wish that they could go away!

Michele sent me this time,

Snaggle Tooth said...

When you rush all the time, you miss the little things which make life worthwhile, n many capture ops would be lost!
This is why I live away from the city- The folks here are great!

barbie2be said...

the summer before i turned 7 my sister took my brother fred and i to her childhood home in encampment wyoming. highways were not what the are today. this was back in 1967. a single woman with a 6 and 9 year old. we had a flat tire in the middle of no where and a trucker stopped and changed it for us. then the radiator hose blew in some small town and the wife of the gargae owner took me and my brother home to play with their kids while we waited on the repairs. she feed us lunch and even packed us snacks for the day before they sent us on our way.

michele sent me over today. :)