Historical Beauty

Two weeks ago, I traveled back in time.

My husband and I were looking for ways to celebrate our 20th anniversary when I came upon a unique opportunity - a dinner train across North Central Montana. Model trains were one of Shawn's childhood hobbies, and I've always been fascinated by the immense, steel machines, so we decided to purchase tickets.

The loading station is almost four hours from home, so we packed an overnight bag and and planned our route through the vast plains that lie east of the Rockies. Arriving in town early, we had time to visit the local museum to learn about the people, trades, and origins of this Central Montana town.

It was here that I began to sense the history beneath my feet.

One exhibit displayed the common luggage of a late nineteenth-century woman boarding a train. Her trunk was an array of smaller drawers filled with jewelery along with a larger compartment for clothing. The mannequin was dressed stylishly in a feathered hat and lace gloves, ready to travel many hours across our large state.

As I prepared to board a train car built over sixty years later, I couldn't help but think of those passengers who had gone before me. The track we followed was built in 1913, and it spanned three long trestles and passed under one concrete tunnel as it navigated the hills and valleys of the journey north. Before Amtrak came  on the scene in the 1970s, this rail line gave both freight and people the speed and ease of travel, and it brought life to the little towns along the way.

How often do we stop to reflect on the beauty of what's gone before us? What kinds of people have blazed the trail or built the track that we still use today? 

There is a special kind of beauty in the long-view, looking back and gazing into the future.

What are you a part of today that will be honored or admired in 100 years? Who do you need to recognize in the past for where you are now?

Here are some doorways from my week:
  • The president of Montana State University gave a speech at the freshman convocation recently. She spoke about the vision of Congress, amidst the Civil War, to create land-grant colleges to provide public education to every state. This is another example of beauty in history.
  • While having lunch in a small town cafe on our way home from the train ride,I heard a lovely, sing-song laugh from one of the waitresses. It was so unique that the locals knew it was her without looking. She infused the place with joy and customers couldn't help but smile.


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