Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Long Train Coming, Long Train Gone

In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum

"Bullet in the Sky" U2

The resolution of a thing is a quieter process. The cold fronts that sweep across our prairies trigger adrenaline charged awe at the titanic clash of cloud on cloud and the explosive release of gust lines and gale driven precipitation, but these riots are mere announcements of an effect that is to come, as more quietly, while our attention turns elsewhere, the chill gathers.

Or a hard charging freight train approaches a crossing as its horns crescendo a screaming certainty. While the basso growl of the diesels accompanies the cacophony of a thousand steel wheels bowing the tracks one stands by, waiting for the worst of the powerlessness to be over.

Later, with heart still pounding, breath recovers as the hundreds of cars roll by. Some clatter by more noisily than others, but one becomes less transfixed, the mind wandering off to the business of the day or perhaps to daydreams.

Some trains bring only the coal that cooks our troposphere and kills our lakes. Some bring the chemicals that transmute our tissues. Some carry the sticks and glue of our construction. Railroad trains carry the stuff of life and death, and of all the complication in between.

As do trains of thought. So, now that the conservative counter revolution's engine has passed with the fury and tumult of congressional and executive election, we wait dumbly as the cars go by. Along rattles an Alito nomination, somewhat above the din. We notice briefly, and maybe glance down the track for an end to the inconvenience.

Not all of us. There are spotters who gather and compare notes and take photographs. These enthusiasts see the contents, monitor the traffic, note the poisons. As we look down or straight ahead, we don't notice them. We are vaguely aware that there are poisons, we have heard of disasters.

But always they have occurred in someone else's town.


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