You stand motionless, enveloped fully within the final death throes of daylight tinged orange, the last gasping a hot southerly breath rustling amongst the cotton fields, whispering upon your neck a merciful requiem for twilight. The gentle flapping of sweat-stained shirttails laps at the perspiration cascading down your back as you draw the hot night deep into your chest, holding in the fragrance of the sun-parched grasses, cleaving to it in a desperateness to become a part of it, to stand as witness before the lateness of the hour and testify that neither it, nor I, will go quietly into the night; its death will not have been in vain for I stood my ground and as God is my witness…
And it is in that moment, when train and twilight are on the same plane of disappearance, we realize the fallacy of permanence.
We linger at field’s edge, the warmth of the day still fresh upon our face, and we watch them both cede to the inevitable; one’s passing punctuated by the nocturnal visitation of the overhead constellations as ochre fades to black; the other by the mournful trumpeting at a distant country grade crossing as the drone of diesel motors and the whir of roller bearings fades downgrade into the darkness, dissipating into nothingness on the hot southerly exhalation of evening, leaving only the night critters to concert amongst the rustling cotton.
And as we stand as witness in the Texas-hot summer twilight, amid the gentle flapping of damp shirttails comes the reminder that time, like all glory, is fleeting.
It is for us to save a piece of it for our memories.
Two miles west of Lockhart, Texas, an empty rock train glides across the cotton fields on its southbound way down Union Pacific’s Lockhart Sub at 8:44 on the Saturday evening of July 20th, 2019.