The day is filled with color, texture, scents and sound. People speaking, factories whirring, traffic humming, but at this hour the sky soothes the bustle with ebony velvet. Others are snug beneath their blankets, overcome by slumber yet busy still, as dreams fill their nighttime schedule. I lie awake, waiting, yearning for the quiet to be fractured by its presence.
In my mind’s eye I see it coming, swiftly passing backwater towns, sensually winding its way through the mist and picking up the scent of evergreens despite its brief encounter with them. The track is miles from here, far too great a distance to catch sight of the single headlamp illuminating what lies ahead. Nonetheless, I wait.
My eyelids (tired and heavy from not wanting to miss a moment of the day that had passed) now attempt to convince me that my own dreams are so enticing I should relax, let go and sink into the comfort of the bedding. With a blurred view from beneath my eyelashes’ flutter I hear it as if it’s just at the end of my block.
A single, sonorous note lasting no more than 5 seconds, but heralding it’s arrival, and I’m no longer drowsy. I have the image of the sleek, aerodynamic carriages, one after another, moving as though gliding along ice. Once again, now much closer. A 5 second blast assures me I am not alone this night; someone else is awake, is traveling, en route and as it passes I receive the third and final auditory gift that dissipates more quickly than it arrived.
A train whistle in the still of the night, has a great soporific effect and I slip silently into slumber.
While I do love trains I also love air travel 🙂
Next time I lay awake waiting to hear the train whistle – I really will know I’m not alone… got a lot of great readers who are doing the same.
This one is so smooth! The magic between the lines almost made me “slip silently” at the end.
Who can better put in writing the feeling we all know? – “My eyelids tired and heavy from not wanting to miss a moment of the day that had passed…” Ahh, so lovely.
I was lying in bed listening for the train the other night – made me think of how I do that very same thing everywhere I travel. In the morning I wrote the Traveler’s Note.
When I lived in Vancouver we used to hear the train whistles and the steel on steel as it lurched around sharp corners. I like the fact that you can usually set your clock to the train schedule.
A train whistle, the sound of a river, rain, thunder, birds starting the day a few hours too early … none of these sounds I find disturbing while asleep. Except once when I had a hotel which was located next to a train station and it seemed like there was an earthquake every time a train passed which was about every 30 minutes … for the entire night.
There are definitely times when you can have too much of a good thing.
I like this… because I can relate to both positions in the story. For me, this is kind of like the perpetual “grass is greener” feeling. When I’m a grimy and tired traveller, all I want is the comfort of a familiar bed, especially at night. But when I’m too comfortable, all I want is to be getting a little dirty on the road.
It’s a great gift to be able to travel and explore the world without going anywhere. But be careful with the Freudian imagery:)
In Reno, Nevada I live at the top ridge of this enormous “bowl” the city sits in. Trains come through a few times during the night. This “bowl” creates a perfect acoustical environment for everyone to hear not on the trains but the jets taking off 10 miles away at the airport. A girlfriend texted me about 1 a.m. several years ago saying, “Do you hear the train?” I did. She said, “It sounds like a friend I want to be leaving with.” I said, “Me too.” We still text each other from time to time upon hearing it, “There goes our friend again…” It’s really cool.
LOVE hearing the train whistle at night, and I’ve always lived close enough to hear one.
Many people think the train whistle to be lonely but I don’t – instantly I start imaging who is on it, where it’s going.
Think you and I must be traveling romantics through and through.