An old Shay locomotive

One night we were searching all over for a motel.   It was at the end of a long travel day and we were both tired.  We hadn’t made reservations since this stop was about 10 days into the trip and we weren’t positive we could keep up our planned itinerary.    When we arrived at Glacier, hotels were full and in Kalispell, the nearest big town since the State Fair was in town, so the situation was compounded.  

But, sometimes good things happen, even when you are frustrated over something else. We turned up a street in Columbia Falls, Montana, looking for that elusive room.   As I started to turn around, there at the end of the street was a railfan’s dream, an old lumber locomotive, a Shay.   It was all alone in an end-of-the-street park.  Of course, I jumped out and took the picture.  Online, I found a webpage about it  ( 

It’s easy in life to get so focused on the frustrations that we miss the gifts that come at inopportune times and unexpected moments.  One of the great skills in life is to be tuned in to the rarity of the moment so that we don’t let the urgency of the mundane – like searching for a room – make us miss experiencing something rare, like a parked Shay, or a special spiritual moment.

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