The Chapel in the Signal Box


I chanced upon this signal box behind a truckstop in Kingman, Arizona where we spent the night. I woke early and walked between the trucks as the sun came up over the desert. Truckers in overalls emerged groggy from their cabs, each carrying a wide-mouth thermos waiting to be filled with the steaming coffee of salvation.


I met two Jehovah’s Witnesses, trawling for souls among the truckers. One carried an ipad with scripture, the other a bible. Both carried the church’s magazine, The Watchtower. They wanted to read me a passage from the bible, so I let them. I liked them, especially the shorter one with the broad hat. The other one had an eye that veered and I had the sense that my soul would be added like a scalp to the collection he wore on a thong across his chest.

I moved on to watch the sun slowly ignite the signal box until it became a glowing shed of wisdom. I imagined people flocking to this place, this chapel, making pilgrimages along the railroad right-of-ways, clogging the tracks with their bodies shuffling forward. Perhaps there is nothing but wires and fuses and electronics in unpretty industrial cases inside – but it seemed to me that the morning promised something more, that some epiphany was in the offing.

It wasn’t. The sun rose. A train rumbled through, shaking everything. The trucks left the safety of the truckstop to do battle with the interstate.

I scavenge for wisdom through truck stops, along highways and beside railway tracks. These are the places lonely men go. Scuffed up, beaten down, tattered – any truths found here will be lasting ones. If there is a portal that will take me to a place of understanding, it is waiting for me out here.

And I, hungry as always, will make my pilgrimage.

One response to “The Chapel in the Signal Box”

  1. Aram Avatar

    Beautiful piece of writing Kevin. Made me want to be there…

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