19 January 2010
far off places.
mystical station : russian rolling stock : railroad weeds : not even for a day : railroad symphony : city desert : the start of the tunnel : holiday express : this is an emergency
there's something about railways, about an empty set of tracks scuttling off around a wooded curve or threading out to be swallowed by the horizon. they speak to me of Far Off Places, of lands undiscovered and yet so much like home. in my head i know that if i set off walking east along those tracks, eventually i'd hit maybe baltimore, philly, new york. west and if i wandered far enough i could spend the day in salt lake city.
but my heart takes one look at that trail of steel and believes in lothlorien. narnia. the shire.
my wise friend morgan pegged a word to this yearning, this visceral longing for something not yet seen but more familiar to us than our own skin. sehnsucht, she called it.
That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead...the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves. (cs lewis)
Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. (st augustine)
sehnsucht, then. that sounds about right.