Did You See What I Saw?
It’s a cool morning as I begin writing this post. The Cheat Salamander, an older diesel engine, sways back and forth—from hillside to riverbed—as I enjoy an excursion through the Monongahela National Forest. The mountains of West Virginia are donning their reds and golds, oranges and yellows in preparation for a festive autumn season. For a brief moment, as we run parallel to the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River, a trio of bald eagles leave their high perches to accompany us on part of our journey. Leaving the river behind, we roll deeper into the mountains where we meet up with a steam engine from the Cass Scenic Railroad. A dozen passengers switch from one train to the other then the sound of steel clacking and squealing against steel fills the cool mountain air once again. The diesel era bids farewell to its predecessor with a mechanical toot and, in reply, receives a long, mournful, steam-powered adieu. Soon, our elevation begins to decrease and the river comes back in view. It winds and babbles, occasionally dancing across lines of rocks and leaving frothy signs of its passage.
Several hours have come and gone since I began writing this. As with most things I write, I can’t help but wonder if I’ve helped you see what I saw? Whether the scenes are in my head or outside my window, if I can’t make you see them, then I have failed. On the other hand, if I think I have to flood your senses with descriptions of every rock, tree, cloud, or bush, then I feel that is failure as well. The line between too much information and too little is a fine one indeed, but the final decision as to a writer’s success at offering the perfect amount rests with the reader.
Just thought I would jot this down.