Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Defiance with Dignity
While traveling a Montana back road I spotted this one lone railroad telegraph pole. There was a time in the not so distant past these poles were as much a part of the railroad infrastructure as the ties and rails themselves. Tall, tight grained poles with their bottoms treated with creosote lined the right of ways. On their stretched out arms were glass insulators all of which supported the multiple wires required to keep a railroad running. Miles of poles and wires connected the smallest station in the middle of nowhere to the largest metropolis mountain ranges away. There was a degree of dignity associated with those poles and wire. They were as important to a railroad as the trains themselves.
Like so much of what was a part of past operations, modern systems of communications and train control have taken away the need for the pole lines. The majority of the poles have been chopped down, the miles and miles of copper wire long since salvaged. Even the string line of small town stations, once linked by those wires have long ago vanished from the landscape. And yet, out in the nothingness of Montana stands this one solitary pole.
Still strong and straight, its arms outstretched true to form I saw the dignity that pole once had was still there. But there was something else as well. With that dignity I saw a hint of defiance. Where all others had fallen, this one pole, somehow, someway has defied the onslaught of the modern world and remains in place along the old Northern Pacific mainline.
There is a degree of dignity in that pole's defiance. Defiance with dignity..maybe the world has stripped the pole of its original purpose, but it has not taken its dignity.
Our dignity...maybe like that pole, it's one of the few things we still can control. Maybe we too should against all odds try and defiantly hold to our own sense of dignity.