In my last blog, I mentioned Gaston Bauchard’s The Poetics of Space theory. He researched space with a poetic lens, and his theory that childhood locations determine our creative internal spaces reminded me of two tunnels near the house where I grew up. North tunnel was over a quarter mile straight, pitch black in its middle so we couldn’t see our hands in front of our faces. South tunnel was shorter, but built the same way. My friends and I spent hours in those tunnels.
My father knew his children and predicted we’d explore inner reaches of both dark tunnels many times, so he taught my brother and me how to hide inside the structured two-by-four side tunnel foundations, in case of emergency. He took us to the longest one and taught us to lean sideways, with our backs pressed against the tunnel beams. We scrunched and pushed hard, so our legs fit tightly against the other beam and wouldn’t get vacuumed up when a long train happened to come through. I felt comfortable knowing how to avoid being sucked into a passing train.
Imagine a space inside a brain that is prepared for vacuum sucking from a speeding train. I have that space as part of me. It goes beside catastrophic thinking but there’s a solution scrunched between two beams.
Yes! The photo shows a locomotive exactly like the ones passing by our houses twice a day. It feels odd to look back at a time when the train symbolized our greatest fears… not just the tunnel risk, but the visceral awareness of its massive weight as it crossed the trestle over the steps toward class, and rolled by the school, shaking the earth.
How amazing to share such spaces!!