On The Rails Again

Well, not quite.  It’s 10:16 am and my train for Toronto leaves at 11:00.  I’m an early bird in the London Via Rail station and wireless is working.  It’s a two-hour trip and I’ve decided to sit at the window with my laptop on top of my lap, and just record what I see and what I think about it.  Sort of stream-of-consciousness.  I bet it’ll be fun!

Only about ten passengers waiting and it looks like all of us are attached to our electronics.  No meditators in sight.  Outside, it’s a sunny day with some fresh snow.  Should be a February wonderland as we float over the fields and through the woods.  See you in an hour or so.

***

Okay, it’s me again.  We’re rolling across farmlands lightly dusted with brilliant snow, just east of London.  The flags are flapping madly … guess that will mean major wind chill between the towers of downtown Toronto.  My search for deer has begun.  Hope springs eternal.

***

I think of Jody’s words:  “I am all trees, Bruce.  I welcome you everywhere.”  And here’s a woodlot with bare branches reaching to the sky.  All trees.  My wife.  I can see through the lot to the field beyond.  I love vertical things.  They remind me of Spirit.

***

The train’s whistle seems far away.  Takes me back to my childhood, sitting on the porch of grandpa’s farm, listening to his stories, while a steam locomotive crosses right to left a couple of miles over the fields.  How easily I slip into the past.

***

We’re stopped in Woodstock.  Three old railway cars painted orange are on a siding, welcoming visitors to the city.  Murals include rolling fields, an ancient locomotive, and animals wearing sunglasses peering out from their train windows.  Very cool.

***

Now it’s a tunnel feeling.  The land is sloping upwards on either side of the tracks.  My nearby horizon is filled with the silhouettes of deciduous trees and sumac bushes.  Sculptures against the sky.

***

A Brantford residential street floats by.  Some fine old homes, large and small, facing the daily schedule of trains.  Do the residents become oblivious to the noise?  How well would I deal with transient eyes evaluating my porch and yard?

***

Now we’re parked at the station.  A high metal freight car sits to my left.  Suddenly my train starts reversing madly!  Faster and faster.  My mind knows that this isn’t happening but my heart’s not convinced.  Finally the track to the left is clear as the freight train pulls ahead.

***

I yearn to write about wildlife spotted but alas, nary a wolf or chipmunk so far.  The truth wins.  Maybe there’ll be no outside creatures on this trip.  A huge part of me wants to see life out there.  But you can’t always get what you want (so says Mick).

***

A highway parallels us.  The cars are going faster than the train.  I want it to be the other way around.  I want to come first!  But another part of me is welcoming the way it is.  I wonder how many facets of me there really are.

***

There’s a field of yellow school buses.  Just think of all the kids those vehicles have transported over the years.  And so many of those children are now adults.  So many stories in those lives.

***

Now we’re in an industrial park.  Big trucks backed up against loading docks.  A huge pile of broken concrete slabs.  Rectangular buildings that all look the same.  And a tall rectangular smokestack that looks like it’s from a science fiction movie.  No human beings in sight.

***

Onwards from Oakville to Toronto.  I pass lots of backyards full of kids’ toys, a few covered swimming pools, back porches for talking.  Here’s a schoolyard with remnants of snowmen.  Parking lots full to the brim.  An American flag draped over the railing of a deck.  Now fancy condos, more vertical than horizontal.  A sleeping golf course drizzled with snow.  Back to industrial and pastel graffitis, such as “Loser Shop”.  Huge earthmoving machines with their massive buckets … and I realize I don’t even know what to call them.  Steam shovels?  Front end loaders?  Clearly, I would be left far behind in any construction conversations.

***

The friendly announcer says we’re ten minutes away from Union Station in Toronto.  Time to shut this post down.  Thanks for being here.  It has been fun.

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