Yesterday, my son and I took a walk on a local Land Trust trail. Half a mile through the leafy trek, we found ourselves standing on one side of what used to be a train bridge. The bridge itself was nothing but a few re-barred pilings jutting out of a slow-moving stream. A trail sign informed us that we were on the remains of a passenger line that stopped carrying riders in 1953. Ahead of us, a straight tunnel through the pines with no visible end; behind us, the fallen pine needles a red carpet hallway stretching through the woods. We were standing in a one-point perspective painting incarnate.
When we looked right, marsh grass divided the stream, obscuring whatever lay beyond the immediate hundred yards. I195 spanned the water a hundred yards and a glance to the left. Cars flashed across the bridge, their drivers as unaware of this old train line as they were of our presence on it.
A short drive and a walk through the woods: a serene path, railroad history, marshland life, and modern transportation all visible from a single spot. This vantage point offered something unique, something that couldn’t be found anywhere else: the gift of being in a particular place, at a particular time, with a particular companion.
What a moment of grace and peace, offering strength to face these politically and pandemically challenging days.