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take the last train to clarksville

To explain to you how I got where I am today, I will call it a series of train wrecks. Not because I know what a train wreck is like. But because that is just what you call it. I did not intend for the trains to derail; in fact I did not intend for much of anything to happen. I may not have even intended to get on the train in the first place. But there I am on train after train watching the scenery of reality blow by the like all the answers that Mr. Dylan sang about. Is it my very presence on the train that causes the train wreck? That is the consistency.


Subtle advertisements of the Departures board lures me to consider. Boston? Chadron? Billings? This time, however, there is a difference. It is so small and penetrating and arresting and unavoidable. A pause. A space of nothingness. A space of somethingness. Without the assistance of the many eager trains surrounding me, I am transported into the poetry of Wendell Berry and “I go among trees and sit still / All around my stirring becomes quiet / around me like circles on water.”


Do I want to take another train only to await the inevitable train wreck? Hope is for that which is unseen. I have yet to see an unwrecked journey, so the possibility for hope makes itself available to me. Despair chooses to make that which is my history my reality; jealously pushing possibilities further and further until they cease. Then I remember this thing that I call God. I remember that the people who lived so long ago and called this same thing that I do, God. And there’s is a story of wrecks. Of fathers of faith who are unfaithful to their family and wives. Of chosen sons who steal birth rights. Of an anointed and beloved king guilty of adultery, murder and pride.


This pause I endured for half a minute. Then went back to my considerations: Chicago? Baton Rouge? Clarksville? But one further destination flashed in front of me, though not on the official list of departures: Home?

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About david b. clark

a husband and father || a student of philosophy, theology, history, literature, music, art, computer science

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