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A Train of Memories

A Train of Memories

How much is like this? Must be everything, all traceable to a source. An imprint from experience back to birth or beyond to the womb, cascading into past lives, and genes of ancestors humanoid, vertebrate, in the soup. Inheritance from multitudes. Every cause a cause before, conditions bouncing off each other in deepest directions through being-time.

Open eyes. Oh yes Ė this whirling place of stars and earth with creatures clinging to precious thoughts that this is that or all there is and they are what they seem. Land of assumptions, judgment, and tumbling dreams of self.

Pause. There is blissful nothing the slightest move washes away. A gust takes perceptible form, leviathan in possibilities. Seeming realities flipping by like cards from an endless deck producing each more endless decks infinitely in the ten directions tenthed. Pick a card any face of which can be plunged into for fractal forgetting of all else down and down. Complexity beyond complexity within complexity. A thought grasped becoming tangible to steely to melt to mist. No end to what can be experienced, comprehended, grasped. Every sensation, impulse, conception, feeling, thing an opening to another world of diametric somethings hypnotizing, smothering, caressing, stabbing, choking, tantalizing, boring, anythinging which when left alone return to stillness, peace.

But no need to go there or there. Indeed beware. Just now enough to do as little harm as possible as the wise ones encouraged. The sounds from the trains are plenty and what I glimpsed of them enough to know.

Childhood memories. Waking up to distant sounds of lions stretching, yawning, elephants loudly greeting sunlight. Not many cars were out yet and we lived near the zoo. Now it seems like magic on a dawn walk in the park. Then it was just that. After breakfast the B-36s long gone warming up en masse ten miles away, jets overhead, an occasional sonic boom. A northern wind would bring the heavy odor of bovine blood and pig fat which I didnít associate with thick slices of breakfast bacon. And all through the day and night was the music of trains I loved and didnít notice.

Granny and Papa lived a few blocks away above the river beyond the changing yard whose rows of tracks I could look down on from their guest bedroom window where Iíd place my chin on the sill and listen. Sitting on the swing at Ahdelís in back last summer a coupling of freight cars clang and echo thickly. In the afternoon walking to the car the muffled churning of linked diesel engines. Various horn moanings punctuating the day. Now I appreciated. Then I just soaked in it.

Sitting on the front porch in early eve recent winter that rich compelling, lonely chord from the locomotive pulling in from the south drawing out long - warning travelers ahead - heard it calling the sound I sought in the venues, and speakers, in Tuxedo Moonís Whatís the Use, in the Low Fi madness of my own studio. The whole underground music sceneís appeal was sparked by all its train sounds harking back those wrapping sensations. I followed that reminder of the bliss of a childís uncluttered sensuality of smells and clanks, hums, awash in whistles within a vast mental space of play.

Katrinka and I were having red rice and tempe at our table in Sanur. I took my elbows from the table. "My grandmother told me not to do that," I said sitting up straight. When a person notes my erect posture and attributes it to Zen I say no, itís because of my grandmother, my motherís mother Ė that and a lot more due to her. I knew that came from my youth but I didnít know the reach of the train sounds. Or the toy train bridge.

Packing up before leaving for Asia, I sighed at a circus colored tin container with sections of little wooden tracks sticking out. I played with those tracks and trains a few childish eternities as did my sons. Nothing else remains. I emptied it onto the storage room floor, examined the simple wood cars with their hooks for joining, tiny wooden wheels for the grooved tracks. I spied a couple of pieces that comprised an elevated intersection where tracks crossed. It was my favorite place in that mini-world. Thatís it I realized in an obscure moment of Eureka. For decades Iíve driven past a place like that on the 580 freeway from San Rafael over the Richmond Bridge to the East Bay. Thereís an exit along the way with an overpass, and on the east side an unusual construction of lanes going up crossing, then down again. Iíve always felt drawn to it though thereís nothing attractive to it or the area itís in. I never wondered why. Looking at the wooden tracks meeting in the elevated center of a figure eight I now knew why. It was a reminder of the joy of selfless pre-intellectual concentration.

What else? Getting up to the new life before the sun Ė obviously from the paper route at ten years - always loved it except for the conflict with staying up late. Don't stay up late now so it's back to like childhood. Eating with a round soup spoon Ė of course - my baby spoon Ė I kept it from Ahdelís home among few other items. Bought two round ones for Elin and me in 1988 Japan at a local hardware store and when she added to the set with oblong ones I always regretted their shape but wouldn't replace them because I can't stand wastefulness which I guess also comes from my German-American mother's side. And from my father? The desire for enlightenment.

I enjoy these inconsequential epiphanies. I donít need to seek out more or know more. I donít want to return to the warmth of bygone good karma childhood or the bliss of innocence. Iím a sort of historian who doesnít want to dwell in memories. Bless them. Make a collage with them and let it slowly fade away on a wall ever receding into the once and never was.

Posted 2-17-14