On Telephone Poles

A Saturday Caesura

Old telephone poles parallel the railway that tracks along the northern edge of our little community. The poles are weathered by years of exposure to wind and sun and rain and snow, by years of stalwartly carrying generations of conversations. A few poles topple eastward, arms askew, having succumbed to westerly winds. Some are half-tangled in trees whose roots permitted them to grow tall while the poles, anchored but rootless, stand lifeless, and now — purposeless.

Thick black lines draped over their extended arms still link them to each other, but no longer provide a link between communities, between people. No words shiver, shimmy, and slide from pole to pole. In some places, lines dangle in severed, broken silence .

I wonder about things old and seemingly useless.

How many words of desperation and love and buisness and flirting and gossiping and fear and courage and news and warning and reassurance coursed through those lines held so carefully on extended arms from pole to pole to pole for miles and miles for years and years? Did we pay attention to those poles and lines when we needed their presence, when we depended on them to stand strong and true through every storm? Or were they…just there — taken for granted in the landscapes of our lives.

Like the aging poles, we are still linked as communities and as individuals, but the links are rarely as visible: underground cables are safely tucked out of sight and weather, wireless waves miraculously deliver conversations to our purses and pockets. Pole-less technology may seem more efficient, but I wonder… I wonder if the connections between us are as strong as those old thick black cables held so carefully by pole after pole.

I wonder about things old and seemingly useless: the stories they tell about where we came from, but also the stories they reveal about who we are now.

I wonder.

2 thoughts on “On Telephone Poles”

    1. Thank you, Sharon – I had to walk down a long memory lane to rediscover how I knew your name! How nice to reconnect here after so many years. I trust that your life continues to be filled with goodness and grace.


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