Painted Tunnel

Painted Tunnel | Trinidad, WA | March 2020

This tunnel cuts through a wall of railroad fill that’s topped by busy east-west tracks. Years ago I sat in my truck and watched a train slowly chug over this portal on its way to big cities in the Midwest. What I thought was a cloud of locomotive smoke at the tunnel entrance turned out to be hornets — a swirling swarm of angry buggers. After the train passed, the cloud disappeared back into the tunnel’s black interior. Today I pause again before driving through this shadowy shaft. What hazards lurk out of sight? Dog’s ball on the stairway. Semi driver texting at the wheel. Coronavirus on a friendly handshake. I make sure the windows are rolled up tight, turn on the truck lights and ease forward into darkness. Prep and go. Life’s too short to fear moving forward. Right?

[In photo: The concrete walls of this underpass have become a favorite target of taggers, even though it’s located in the middle of nowhere. Who’s the audience for these spray-painted proclamations?]