Finding A New Way


This is a pen and ink sketch, I did many, many years ago. It isn’t a particularly good piece of work, but I’ve kept it because it reminds me of many things. Mainly about how difficult it can be to find a way through everyday circumstances. Sometimes those circumstances try us to the very limit of our abilities and, in order to continue, we must find new ways of getting through.

I recently watched a TV series titled Hell On Wheels. It’s about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, 1865 – 1869, here in America. For some, it was meant to be a symbol of the reunification of the country after the horrible conflict of the Civil War. It drew its workforce from former army members (both North and South), the Freed black men, Irish and Oriental laborers seeking to build a new home here in the States. And one of the most difficult aspects of that endeavor was finding a way through the mountainous passages of the landscape. A rather daunting process.

There were many who simply didn’t care about the project, and many who were definitely against such a thing, and for all kinds of reasons, as well as many who simply joined in for the express purpose of making money. It became a competition between different railroad companies to see who could complete the task. But, eventually it was completed and connected travel from the Eastern to Western seashores. It was a truly incredible achievement, especially at a very tumultuous time in our History, as a nation.

I mention it here, because the series portrays how all these different individuals, from distinctly different backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems, had to find a way to work together, despite those differences. And how each unique difference was important to the whole of that completion. Especially when one realizes that the endeavor was also battling the Native Americans who adamantly didn’t want this steel ‘monster’ cutting through their hunting and living environments.

This is not a pretty, rose-colored or romantic interpretation of that time in our History. It is far more gritty and realistic in its portrayal of these clashing forces, forced to work together. Forced, by individual needs, to find ways to accomplish the task of actually learning how to work together. And yet, somehow they did.

I see an echo of that reality now in our current situation. We’ve been more than content to live our everyday lives in our own established comfort zones, going about our business, but remaining, each in our own small bubbles of familiarity. But, those bubbles are being burst with each new day since the inauguration. I also see us drawing closer together in a new form of unification on both personal and political levels. We are finding a new way.

Personally, I find myself doing things I’d never have considered before. Making phone calls, exploring my past for ways that might help, or that need to be changed to accommodate all the changes taking place. Raising my voice in protest against things that are just simply wrong, and have nothing to do with my personal situation or belief system. And encouraging others to do the same.  Taking responsibility for widening my views and then acting on those conclusions. I am finding a new way through the mountains that lie in my path. And am sincerely grateful that when I stop, and look up from trying to find the way through all of it, I can see and hear others doing the same and, who are willing to encourage and  strengthen my spirit and heart to continue. I am learning to be grateful and to pray in a new fashion. To think in new and more creative manners than ever before. There is always more strength in united numbers.

Whew! I got a great deal out of that old, homely little sketch. Can you?






About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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2 Responses to Finding A New Way

  1. The sketch really speaks to me, Elizabeth. I love it. And I resonated with your comparison of those hard railroad building times to today. My grandma’s father helped build that railroad, in Montana. As people come together to oppose injustice, I am heartened. The more light we shine, hopefully we can roust the darkness.

    Thanks Sherry. The series, which I started watching for an escape hatch from all the turmoil (honestly, lol), proved to be a rather eye-opining experience. I am slowly watching it again and it amazes me how much similarity there is to it and our current situation, albeit, at that time it was a microcosm within a much larger landscape, and our current situation seems to swiftly becoming a global one. I think it’s fantastic that your great grandfather was a part of that experience. Perhaps that’s where you get some of your own wild nature from?



  2. Myles Butler says:

    I really like this message. Having watched Hell on Wheels for a few seasons, I never considered it more than just entertainment. But thinking back on it, I think your observations are spot on. Progress may be messy sometimes, but in the end it will require all of us to come together.

    Thank you, for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, we must all come together, and that may be the most difficult aspect of our current situation. As I told Sherry, above, I am re-watching the series far more closely. Finding distinct similarities, especially in the leading roles of several of the characters. Colm Meany as a Trump, or republican figure, the defeated Southerner as a representative of any member of the Democratic political party, the Irishmen with their feisty love of homeland, and the former slaves who want to be the freed men they believe they are, but are constantly reminded they are far from that ideal. The religious figures, who have come to save the ‘Inferiors’, only to find that they themselves are just as flawed. And the Native Americans who have been reduced to savages because they are systematically being displaced in the name of progress.

    I, myself, have some Native American ancestry, plus more of the melting pot affect of generations. I am hoping that because the majority of us have similar backgrounds, we’ll be better equipped to reach out and begin the dialogue of similarities rather than that one of differences. I am seeing some of that in the Women’s March, and now in the multiple protests at airports. We can only hope and pray that it continues.



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