It’s not the years…

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So, it is coming down the home stretch in 2015. Last page on calendars and all that. Time for a bit of reflection between those holidays and more shopping opportunities, right?

For my part, it is the time when the Dickens Fair comes to San Francisco, bringing the Victorian spirits of Christmas to life. Doing my bit behind the scenes at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe gets me into the seasonal frame of mind. And the walk about with everyone in a similar mood and a proper pint or three of a favored beverage does not hurt either…

As another year of circling our sun comes to pass for me, I tend to look back and think on some of the best moments I have enjoyed. Some are with family and friends, personal and private. Others are those kind of stop and just watch things unfold. But all are the kind of events that I would not have missed for anything.

Take for example the scene above. It is a mid-winter afternoon as the sun is setting. Out in the prairie, north of the Sacramento River Delta. A somewhat rare undeveloped bit of the San Francisco Bay Area, if you like. If not for the railroad tracks and fences, a plot of land that is much as it has been for centuries. Undisturbed by plows, or human passing in many ways. Plants and a few animals living as they have for a long time.

And along comes this machine, from a time past. An obsolete technology. At the control of the men who operate it. As it comes to a stop, it lives and breathes. For a few minutes, it sits in this scene, as it once had during its working life. Now retired to a museum, it has resumed duties after sitting in storage for some 30 years.

In this moment, this image captured, it steps back in time. Back now a century to when it was new, bringing people and materials west, to their own adventures. With the tales of families, careers, loves and lives all influenced by that moment.

I only have this single image from that afternoon. The rest of it committed to memory. The sound of steam, exhausting as the air pump worked and the dynamo turned to create electricity for the headlight. Mixing with the sound of the grasses in the breeze, zephyrs at play.

That moment was something special. And I am glad I was there as it happened, as it will never come again. Just one of those times to watch and experience.

Thankful indeed.

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