I never — and I mean NEVER — get stuck behind a train while driving. I can count the number of times it has happened on one hand.

I drive across a set of railroad tracks every day dropping my kids off at school. I have never seen (or heard) a train crossing them. Not once.

To my great surprise, I was brought to a stop this morning as the wooden slats came down and the flashing lights began their ceremonious display of ‘haha! you’re going to be late now’ and I parked in a sudden sense of simultaneous confusion and wonder. (‘Wow, this railroad track isn’t just some outdated decoration of our old-fashioned small-town Main Street?’)

Anyhow, I sat in keen observation of the railcars, anxiously anticipating the caboose’s arrival. What really got my blood flowing was not the train’s eventual passing, but this breathtaking image I discovered on the side of a centrally-positioned railcar; on its surface was the most exquisite display of artistic and philosophic graffiti I have ever seen. Simply, it said …FEEL…

I was moved beyond measure. So much so, that I was brought to my senses by the sudden symphony of car horns screeching the serendipitous and unanimous impatience of all the drivers behind me, proudly pissed off by my daydream-moment of speechless awe.

As I continued throughout my day, I found myself moved even more deeply by “…FEEL…” than I had been from the start. What gang member, artist, delinquent, or bored, unsupervised minor, or unemployed, unmotivated, disenchanted grown-up could have possibly had the foresight — and the INSIGHT — to scribble such profound and simple truth for the sole purpose of simply REACHING somebody… Even if that somebody turns out to be only one somebody, and that somebody is me?

I’m not quite self-absorbed enough to imagine that my tiny little existence would matter that much to anybody else, to risk heavy punishment and to waste a minimum of forty-five minutes for some random woman in Randomville, USA seeing the depth of …FEEL…’s beauty and be instantaneously transformed… But that’s exactly what happened; on my end of things, and on mystery person’s end of things as well.

It reminds me of a certain weekend when I was twenty-three. I had an 18-hr courseload in college and a full-time job that kept me going-going-going non-stop, all the time. But on one weekend, I decided to take a break from it all. I pulled out my art supplies and spent all day Saturday creating massive, colorful posters and laminating them. Each one was different. They all made absolutely no sense, and served absolutely no purpose to the uninformed eye. Randomly, they were an assortment of various suggestions, quotations, and big bold words. “LOVE IS A VERB,” “be who you are,” “TRUTH IS MAGICAL,” “you are the coolest you that this world has ever known,” “HUG A STRANGER TODAY,” etc. Many of you will no longer ride the fence, confidently asserting to yourselves as you read this that I am, undoubtedly, a complete and total whack-job. And I’m cool with that. Because the best part of that Experiment in Ridiculousness was not the part where I made tons of cool posters and thought of borderline-nutcase things to write on them. The best part of it was the many photographs I took (from a quiet distance) all day Sunday of various passers-by, pausing in the course of their journey that day to observe the nonsense before them and turn their head with an involuntary grin across their face, absorbing the thoughts I had shared with them.

I imagine the train-sketcher and I hold much in common. Except for him/her, the process was more about the possible than it was about the actual. And I must say, it’s just as mind-blowing to be the stranger experiencing what’s possible as it is being the artist experiencing what’s actual.

Magic: possible, actual, and quantified.


About Brandy Desiree

"Call on me, and I will show you great and unsearchable things you do not know." --Jeremiah 33:3 I am a seeker. A lover. A doer. A thinker. I make music, I dance often, and I laugh. It's all hilarious, really. Everything. Look around you. My children teach me a lot about life. I have five boys, and yes I'm out of my mind. It works for me though; I think this world could honestly use just a little more crazy. A lot of humanity's problems could be solved by everybody taking themselves a little less seriously. I'm grateful and alive; a constantly evolving creature, thankful for the sunshine and just as thankful for the rain... Visit my corner of the universe and share yourself! My heart could implode with welcome for you.

10 responses »

  1. It is most interesting how one word “feel” transformed your entire day, and into a positive one. The word “feel” is a powerful word, if we actually think about it. We need to feel to live, really. To feel hope, love, touch, sadness in order to “feel” alive. To feel hope is to want to to live, to want to live is the essence of life, and the essence of life is love.

    • I experienced the same sort of ‘hmm’ by the fact that one word, one simple observation of a simple artistic thought simply painted on a simple inanimate object could have such unsimple implications for my little brain.

      I love your take on ‘…FEEL…’ very much. That’s precisely why it hit my soul so deeply.

      Most words we use on a frequent basis have an incomparable power when used alone. FEEL is the powerful-most suggestion I have yet to encounter.

      Because from my perspective, that’s the one thing this world has lost sight of with increasing measure. We hurry to get the job done. We hurry to heal from pain. We hurry to get where we’re going. We hurry to leave where we finally arrived so we can hurry and make dinner, and hurry and eat it so we can hurry and relax before we hurry to fall asleep in attempt to hurry and rest a little bit before we hurry out of bed and hurry to work and hurry saying goodbye to our kids and good morning to our co-workers and we end up dying with overwhelming regret because all we ever did with our lives is run away from feelings that didn’t feel good and run as fast as we could to things that seemed enjoyable but once obtained were never truly FELT with much more than a few seconds worth of our existence.

      I’m pausing in my day, right here and now, to feel thankful for the perfect sunset. The air is calm, the children are laughing, and peace is everywhere in this moment.

      Thanks for the input Liz. Inspiring. Par for the course with you. πŸ˜‰

  2. “…my tiny little existence…”

    I honestly don’t think God recognises those words in relation to your life, though He certainly understands how you might feel that way sometimes. To all intents and purposes, to the outside eye, the new born baby in the stable in Bethlehem was a tiny little existence. He turned out to be fairly important πŸ™‚

    Just an observation…

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