29. Progress

The Last Train


Do you remember the popular band The Monkees? They had that great hit single, “The Last Train to Clarksville.” Remember? I can close my eyes and hear it clearly in my mind.


Take the last train to Clarksville,

And I’ll meet you at the station.

You can be there by four thirty,

‘Cause I made your reservation.

Don’t be slow, oh, no, no, no!

Oh, no, no, no!


‘Cause I’m leavin’ in the morning

And I must see you again

We’ll have one more night together

‘Til the morning brings my train.

And I must go, oh, no, no, no!

Oh, no, no, no!

And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home.


According to a Wikipedia entry, “Last Train to Clarksville” is about a young soldier heading out for the Vietnam War, wishing only to see his girl one last time before he boards the train in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Think of how hard it would be to be so unsure of your future. I know that some of you reading this post may already know the feeling, while others — like me — can only imagine. My thoughts on living in the present assume always that tomorrow will arrive. I think about making progress, about improving, about moving forward. I can hardly imagine the effect an uncertainty about tomorrow would have on my mind.


In the lyrics above, it is love that moves the boy to sing. Of all the desires that he could sing about, it is his yearning for one more night with his beloved that he holds most dear. You can assume that at this particular moment in his life, all of the riches in the world wouldn’t come close to matching the bliss of being with his love, if only for a night.   


We take so much for granted, don’t we? We invest so much time in an uncertain future while squandering a most certain present. The comfort we maintain in thinking that tomorrow will arrive comes at the expense of fully savoring today. In our hurried lives, we seem to be traveling in circles around a globe filled with simple desires – desires obscured sometimes by the noise of progress.


Day 29 Guide


Take time to simplify your desires. Make an effort to enjoy – even savor — laughter, love and friendship.


© 2006, Levi Hill

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