Saturday, April 9, 2011
TRAINS & ME
Dreaming of riding the rails, I laid awake all night long listening to the train whistles blow, until the wee hours of the morning. We’re less than a mile from a crossing. There is something mesmerizing about a train as it glides past you. The power and speed are invigorating. Trains provide a chance to connect with the past when this form of transportation dominated. When we lived in Chicago, I had a lot of spare time on my hands and quickly established a daily routine. I would leave the motel and go downtown to the local bookstore to spend the day. Gathering my selection of magazines and books, I would head to their large picture window overlooking the train station. I logged hours just sitting in an overstuffed chair by that window, watching all the trains pull into and out of the station. Seeing people clamor on or off the platform, heading for work or home was intriguing. I became so fascinated by this train activity, that it became a hobby. Since the job in Chicago, designing components for trains, wasn’t permanent for my husband, we headed further east... five years later, to the next job. In this location we still see plenty of trains, but they’re not the same as the ones in the big city. The trains here are built for hauling freight, not people. They're not as interesting. They seem to be lumbering down the tracks at a snails pace, instead of lightening fast. They are old, loaded with graffiti, rust and suffice to say, they’re not much to look at. Nowadays, I get pretty aggravated if traffic is blocked and I have to stop for one… especially if it‘s more than a 10 or 15 minute wait… which in our town is a very frequent occurrence. But why get so upset? History is passing me by. I should stop and pay attention to the stories, these giants of transportation, could tell. While their whistles wailed last night... something inside me, stirred. Maybe my love affair with trains isn’t really over, after all. I'm restless for a ride, to a place I've never been.