June 2013 Pix

by Jim on 2013/06/30

[Jimbaux thinks about you all the time.]

Feeling Miles Away

Actually, there are a few pictures from the last days of May here too.  These are all of the train pictures that I took from the end of May until the end of June except for the pictures of the Western Pacific heritage unit coming through New Orleans.

I don’t have much to say about the images here, even though there are some new shots here, like this one that was just a stroke of luck, the only skills used here being those acquired long ago.

This is the most recent shot of this post; if you are paying close attention, you’ll note that I am again dispensing with the custom of posting all of the images in the order in which they were taken.  Doing so is not my purpose here, though I hope that you did really enjoy and learn from the Great Northward Pilgrimage set: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, the very different and inspiring Day 4, and the very memorable and thoughtful Day 5.  I hope, too, that you enjoyed the chasing of a Canadian Pacific Railway train in North Dakota, my first-ever shots of a CP train.

So, I Said This Once Before

On the second-to-last day of May, I caught the Union Pacific local train formerly known as “the Chip Local” for the first time since late February.

We are in Raceland here.  Chip retired in November, and I haven’t given this train much attention since then, but I also haven’t given trains much attention at all in the last two months.  Here is a closer view.

Engineer Boudreaux seemed to slow down as he recognized me.

I miss Chip, but I have also moved on.  Are both possible?  I guess so.

‘Cause What I Have I Have In Mind

(What, you’re not listening to today’s song?  It’s a really good one.)  Here are some KCS switchers working KCS New Orleans Yard at dusk one evening.

Again, if you really care, you can see caption information in the filenames, which can be read by holding the mouse arrow over the pictures.

My friend William, who just moved out of town to move to China, gave his chickens away.

You Think I’ve Got It Made

While on one of my recent habitual drives between Bayouland and Woadieville, I managed to get a new shot, this one of an eastbound BNSF train at Des Allemands.

Yes, that’s a new shot, one that I’ve never done before.  It’s okay, I guess.  Here’s the same train again in Waggaman a little while later, since we were going in the same direction.

Meh.  It’s hot.

Here are the old MoPac fuel racks at Avondale.

Yeah, the redeeming quality of that image is the view deep into the yard at right.  Speaking of Avondale, here it is a few days before in darker, wetter times.

The significance to life is that which we give to life.  Floods will wipe us clean anyway.  Nothing that we do is really all that significant, but that should not be a reason to not persevere.

Yeah, no kidding; that’s the NOGC!  Despite being in that area plenty and seeing trains, that’s the first shot that I get there since January.  It’s not that I don’t care anymore; I just care more about other things, like stand-up comedy, which is going okay, and has apparently brought a few new readers to this site.

‘Cause I’ve Wasted All I’ve Known

Seether really rocks.  Here’s another new shot, though it is not special.

That’s a UP baretable train rolling slowly through Waggaman on former SP trackage, now UP’s Avondale Sub, which is in yard limits.

Never Run Away

As we close this post by looking at a sextet of pictures from the KCS New Orleans Yard at dusk a few weeks ago – and you’ve already seen one of the images from this shoot that is not shown here – I’ll discuss more about the revelation that the recent death of a cousin-in-law was a suicide.  Unless you count the morning view I did here nearly two years ago, these late afternoon views are the first time that I ever do these shots.

My cousin was inconsolable at her husband’s funeral.  It was a terrible thing to witness, that he had chosen somehow to depart from life.  From the great discomfort and sadness that I felt from witnessing her deep grief and sorrow, I want to make something positive come from it, as there is plenty that we can learn from this.

As regular readers of this site know, I often preach about the rights and the empowerment of the individual, that an individual must not so willingly and blindly submit to the overpowering conformity of what we call “society,” that individual liberty and freedom of thought are the only things that are sacred.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot are to be admired for their work in the promotion of the empowerment of the individual.

The possibility of suicide does indeed make us existential beings, and to commit such an act honors the autonomy of which Rousseau and Diderot wrote and that they promoted, though we must always be aware of the dark side to that empowerment.

As the terrible grief that my cousin could not help but display showed me all too well, “people need people,” as my recently-deceased grandmother would often tell me.  She was so right.  So was Donne.  No man is an island.  As much as our respective existences may marginalize those of others, we also are beneficial to each other in so many ways.  Seeing the grief caused by my cousin-in-law’s suicide has helped me to temper my own fierce defense of individualism, not that individualism is bad at all, but it’s not the only answer, not the only way.

Perhaps Coleridge knew this as he wrote The Rime of The Ancient Mariner.  I really don’t know, and nor does anyone else who tries to interpret that opaque work, but that’s not really the point.  Maybe Nietzsche’s inability to completely reject slave morality even as he lamented its triumph over master morality explains our dilemma.  Aren’t we all selfish?  And isn’t at least some of that selfishness not necessarily bad?  Don’t you want to mean something to other people?  Are there not people whose existence is important to you?  Is hopelessness the opposite of narcissism?  Is being somewhere safely in the middle between those two extremes the most healthy way to live life?

It is my hope that there are some in this world who value my own existence and what I do, that my existence does something for them.  Is that not normal?  Don’t you want to be – or aren’t you already – “significant” to some of the people in your life?

Find a way to live your own life to the fullest and pursuing your own dreams and still be important to other people, to serve and to inspire others, to give meanings to the lives of others by giving meaning to your own life.  That is probably the only way.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 T. A. Bowen July 1, 2013 at 08:28

I enjoy reading your thoughts while viewing your excellent photos. Helps me to realize were actual people taking photos, not mindless “foamers”. Keep up the great work, I miss South Louisianna.

Your neighbor to the north, and slightly west,

T. A. Bowen
Longview, TX


2 Bob July 1, 2013 at 08:48

As always, another nice mix of good pictures and thought provoking ramblings (said with the kindest of thoughts).


3 Dalton July 1, 2013 at 23:26

I enjoyed reading your commentary, as I always do. Take it as you will, but personally, I don’t think you give yourself enough credit for the pictures you take. It does take a certain amount of talent/skill, or whatever you wish to call it, to point a camera at any object, let alone a train, and produce an appealing photograph. Understandably, not every train picture is going to be an “O. Winston Link”, but every picture has something for someone. Most of the”okay” shots (as you describe them), are excellent photos. I think even a cloudy picture in an “okay” location always has something to offer. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but, I digress… As an aspiring photographer (if such a term exists?), I look up to people who share the same interests as I do. Some of your pictures have actually inspired me to go out and try similar shots, though most of the time, what appears on the memory card doesn’t exactly fit with what I had imagined. But, I suppose that happens to every photographer. I appreciate the thoughts and experiences you have shared so far, and I hope you continue doing so.
– MP 259.77 on Union Pacific’s Sedalia Subdivision


4 Ray Duplechain July 2, 2013 at 23:30

Excellent photographer and great writer….wonderful combination; thanks for sharing. I enjoy your presentations.


5 Christie Pepper September 4, 2013 at 11:53

I just love how the sun reflects onto the trains in certain pictures, giving it a surreal effect. Looks like something that would be expressed within a fairy tale or to those of us with wild imaginations (even in our older years) maybe a train full of pirate’s gold or pixie dust hmmm. I guess that is one of the things that perplexes most people who know me–my wild maybe creative imagination. I try to see the beauty and the mystery in all things. No one knows everything and with that lack of certain knowledge lies the room to create your own (if that makes sense).
I definitely agree with an above comment in that you do not give yourself enough credit for the images, because I see so much more in there and honestly you must have too in order to have thought it picture worthy. I have been told many times, that I have an eye for beauty because of the images I capture, but honestly I see beauty in everything, which is unusual due to my day job. Maybe because I see so much ugliness on a day to day basis, I force myself to find the brighter side. (that calls for deeper self-reflection than I am willing to dwell upon)
Anyway, your images are excellent and it gives my mind a lot to play with, so thanks! 🙂


6 Stephen Kalthoff July 1, 2014 at 23:40

Love rail fanning Louisiana all the way from Nor California where I reside. Last time we were down in your territory was Christmas – New Years week 2012 —covered N. O. , Baton Rouge , Livonia, and Lake Charles . Anyway your photos are great –keep posting.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: