Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was my gloomy mood, dealing with the prospects of a 4 hour train ride to Boston to speak at a conference that didn’t interest me at all. Maybe it is just the nature of train tracks and how people tend to use the land around them as their personal dumping grounds. I used to walk the tracks quite a bit as a teenager, but I don’t recall seeing so much garbage carelessly tossed against the inclined territory.
It sure looks like we are in a state of serious decline. I see abandoned cars, trucks, toys, projects…even whole properties that appear to have fallen out of use. It’s very clear that when the functional utility of things cease, people don’t know what to do with them.
Some say America is dying. I have thought they are cynics. But from here it already looks dead. We seem to be in the grasp of hyper-inflation as prices for everything are climbing at an alarming rate. So many people are still out of work. Everything I see seems to be in a state of decline – buildings, possessions, attitudes.
I also didn’t see one person out there…not one the whole train ride. And not one construction vehicle moving at one construction site – on a Tuesday afternoon.
I look at the thousands of backyards butted up against the railroad tracks and it gives me a feeling of compassion to see their little kiddie pools, swingsets and compost heaps, which make me see people more as people and less as objects that burden and pressure me.
I see all of this while listening to Mumford & Sons’ first song over and over again, not realizing that it is on song repeat and thinking that this whole album sounds the same. But that deep, murky, multi-layered folk music on steroids – building and building as the song reaches a frantic climax – causes the landscape to make sense.