Time’s Railcar

Time’s Railcar

Time. It is the one thing that no human can stop.  The year 1906.  Was anyone thinking about the year 2000?  I find myself thinking only of 2040.  My mind doesn’t wander to the year 2100.

 

This peek into 1906 was just 4 days prior to the great San Fransisco earthquake and fire that devastated the city which had broken every building code in the books and nearly every home built of wood was burned to the ground.

It’s a feeling I can’t put my finger on when I watch this footage.  The music; the fact that I am being transported in a rail car, in 1906, down Market Street as newspaper boys, carriages, trollies all dart and cross over in some unseen syncopated rhythm. Upper class, working class, all real life – no Hollywood stuff – just real people 111 years ago, now gone, and I get to share an ephemeral ride with them all because someone decided to click the ‘on’ button. And that’s just it…

I know.  I already know that in 4 days, it’s coming for them. But now, in this illuminated flicker of time, they carry on, eating, dining and being married as the ancient scripture reads. They are doing what they do everyday; criss-crossing the rails between carriages, trollies, cars, bicycles; hitching rides, waving hello, curious folks, busy folks, high society and working class folk doing their thing, carrying on with the day’s tasks, making money selling newspapers and making their way forward, ever forward, all unknowing, all unsuspecting and without a clue what’s waiting for them down the rail car of time.  And it’s moving, that rail car, it’s moving all of us along. Their was no stopping it, it kept moving steadily and unswervingly towards the end of those 3 days until the morning at 5am on the 4th day.  And then…

It kept going, time that is, it kept moving along those rails, through the earthquake, through the fires, through the heartache and the pain it kept right on moving without stopping to mourn or rejoice or reflect or congratulate.  Through the year of 1906 and into 1907, through the confetti and the resolutions, through the wars and the peace treaties, the good decisions and the bad ones, the new technologies the new ways to save people and the new ways to kill them, through catastophic floods, volcanos, storms, through dreams broken and fulfilled it moved, steady until finally it would stop in 2000 – but it did not stop – and here we are now in 2017 and time is flowing past me, over me and through my fingers, my skin my heart my thoughts it flows through and leaves its mark on my face, my mind and my life.

Who’s going to be watching us on a digital playback in the year 2117?  With whom will we share our ephemeral existence somewhere down the railcar’s tracks, careening out before us into the future – who will meet us on our planes, in our cars, crossing our busy intersections at midday and say “they didn’t know – look at them – that it was coming for them in just a few days, see how they go about their lives with their dreams, their hopes, spending, eating, celebrating, mourning, working and being distracted by the joys and trials of life, look at them – and they didn’t know.”

Where does that put us on the rails of time?

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