Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Romance of Trains

I never thought much about trains until I moved to Alaska. In fact, I'd never been on one. Yet, trains are just a fact of life here. I can hear one as I type, heading to places unknown. The sound of that distant whistle still has the power to conjure up the romantic in me, making me ponder the many stories on the train and wonder where it's going and who's going with it. At night, in bed in that pleasant land halfway between sleep and wake, I hear the trains and find myself giving a sleepy smile.

Now, true, I might not be as fond of that lovely sound if I lived closer to the tracks; but I'm just close enough and far enough away that it's a pleasant, non-intruding sound, one that takes me back to days of yore. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to just hop a train and follow it to adventure and sights unseen? I saw my first bore tide from a train, my second bear in the wild from a train, and some of the wildest, most wonderful scenery imagineable from the windows of a train. Yep, I wanna go ride the rails again.

The fact that there's something about the sound of a train whistle even today that sends me scrambling for my camera, even during mundane, everyday pit stops speaks volumes. Here's one barely captured as it cruises past me as I eat my snack in the McDonald's parking lot in Wasilla. Even then, car wheels beneath me, a full tank of (very expensive) gas, and time to kill, I could help thinking how cool it would be to be on that train.

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