Thursday, September 10, 2009

Repost - The Long Fall

Pin It Originally posted on July 12, 2009

Some people might wonder why I would select this as a favorite repost of my first 500; the reason for this I believe is that I wrote it at a time this summer when things were looking their bleakest; I was literally at a place where life had taken a turn for the worst. Things had not turned out the way I’d planned.

I had no idea where I was going this particular evening, or what it was that I was going to do; I just needed to be alone for a little while. I had to be somewhere that wasn’t around the incessant droning of that oxygen machine.

I wrote this post and shortly after publishing it, removed it from my blog. I had a few friends who’d read it in the short life it had online asked why I’d deleted it; the best I could come up with was that it was such a personal experience I didn’t feel like relating it just then. As I was rereading over my posts tonight I realized that this was a pivotal moment just as much as was this one was in my life. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was a moment.

Tonight I put it back online where it originally was; along with a repost here.

I have nothing more to say.

July 6, 10:47 P.M.

It was a heinous night, one more so than usual; I just had to be not here.

I slipped from the house and soon I found myself walking along the railroad tracks down at Lake Pend Oreille.

The rails stretched across the shadowy waters, glinting in the moonlight and vanishing into the pine trees nearly a mile off on the distant shoreline.

I began to walk the ties of the bridge, the smell of creosote filling my nostrils along with the thick sultriness of humidity in the air.

The angry lake crashed and splayed below me, as the choppy wind buffeted me from time to time.

My head was a flurry of thought, much like that wind as it carried me along with it.


There were so many questions.

Overhead the orange harvest moon moved slowly from behind the clouds; we gazed at each other across that vast space which separated us.

The distance seemed like a million miles; maybe more.

To be honest, I’d been feeling that same distance with God, too. He and I seemed to be worlds apart, neither one of us seeming to understand the other.

As I walked, I thought longingly of my headphones back at my car, I wished that I had them; had them to drown out the turbulent sounds which continued to moil through me like that tempestuous blast.

I wanted to play what had unofficially become the soundtrack of my life as of late, their lyrics tumbling about my head even as I traversed footfall after footfall.

“…the long fall back to earth is the hardest part...”

At the quarter mark of the bridge I stopped. Here was a spot to stand and look over the lake. I found myself sitting against the handrail as the waves lapped hungrily at the trestle supports some thirty feet below. Out across the water I watched the distant headlights of cars on the long bridge as they came and went in a flurry of tail lights—each headed to destinations unknown.

In the moment I petitioned the heavens, like I had so many times before.


There were so many questions.

The trestle started to vibrate slightly; in looking back at the direction of the city, I saw one bright light hastening toward me.

It was a train.

There was nowhere to go. There was nowhere to run.

Was I afraid?

I was terrified.

I sat at my perch above the water, four feet from the tracks as the thundering locomotive drew nearer. Moments later it was upon me, screaming as it passed in a flurry of whatever heavy cargo it carried. The sound was deafening. The wind buffeted me. I stood, letting the fear consume—let it fill me to overflowing—terror bristling through every tendon and nerve.

Let it be gone.

As suddenly as the fear had overtaken me, it ebbed away.

For several minutes the boxcars kept coming, sparking and groaning on their silver wheels until there was nothing.

The train had passed, the shaking of the long bridge ceased, and the night took on its usual stillness...the last sounds of the locomotive vanishing into distant obscurity.

The wind blew, the waves lapped, I stood.

The moon was swallowed behind a cloud.

I walked back the way I had come, my head still a storm of questions.

I had no answers.

But I wasn’t afraid.


Linn said...

Thanks for putting the post back where it belongs. It is beautifully written. You are human. We are all human.

SO said...

Fear can be so hard to let go of. Thanks for introducing Jars of Clay to me. They are fabulous.

Gerb said...

I love the honesty in this post. Thanks for being real.

K.J. said...

Wow! I love reading all of your posts...I think they are all my favorite! Love this one!

Corine said...

It is so good that even with questions still unanswered, your fears left you - you chose them away ("let it be gone"). I have had great difficulty with this at times, and at such times I have regretfully shok my fist at God, wishing I could understand his ways. Once I again trust him, I'm again OK.

I'm glad you posted this. From where I stand, I am reminded of Hinckley's words;

"your future is as bright as your faith."

(..not as bright as your knowledge or pool of confirmed answers)

Life is good. We are not alone.


Anonymous said...

I hadn't realized you'd removed this post. Kudos on reposting it--it's the ones like this, that bleed honesty, that define us as writers.

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