Train Thoughts

Watching L.A. county roll by from the train puts the human world back into perspective. Miles and miles of endless concrete and structure. The great human achievement. Progress.

Green can be found in designated zones where non-native plant life is endlessly treated and maintained so that it can survive in what should be a desert landscape. A nearly dry “river bed" coated in concrete lays baking in the smog-filtered sunlight.

As the train makes it’s way further south on the rails, humanity sprawls out. Native plants cling to the dirt near the tracks. Bushes and cypress trees are planted next to houses for privacy. Dwellings as far as the eye can see.

Finally, the tracks move West and run alongside the Pacific. Water, waves, sand. Right up to the train, so close you could touch the sea foam if only the windows would open.

Still, people swarm the pier, the sand, fill the shops by the tracks, pack the train.

Pendleton. Open terrain, scarcely interrupted by military operations. The western chaparral as it would be if we weren’t here. Green with shocks of yellow wild flowers. Ocean to the West. Foothills in the East. Falcons circling, hunting.

If humanity were to vanish today and all of our operations and great achievements and technology stopped, how long would it take for nature to overwrite our presence? How many months until grass and tree roots push through our roads and sidewalks, breaking and scattering them?

Would we see a return of the desert that used to be, or something else? Would the ever decaying metals and waste irrevocably alter the landscape, creating some new post-humanity terrain?

Would the world miss us? Or would it breathe a sigh of relief as if felt our weight lift from it’s surface?

When our drills stop and our pipelines run dry, how long will Earth even remember us?

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Ashlee Palka

Ashlee Palka

Fearlessly authentic. I write about health & wellness, gaming, fashion, spirituality, sustainability, magick, and more. TikTok — @AshleePalka