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Monday, July 13, 2009

Train Ride

Photo by Jim Pankey "WildSpirit"
Jim's Photography can be found at Picasa and Fotothing
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Suggested prompt...
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It began on a train...



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On the night train, we met a group from Texas. We played Spades with them for hours, as if we knew them.

At night,
creaking, moaning
slowly reaching
its thunderous pace.
I've forgotten
the quiet here

At dawn, Ian came into my carriage to wake me and said, "We're getting off in a half hour. And you might want to open your window." I did, and I saw the sun rising over the Alps, with little lights dotting the faces of the mountains. The sun peeked over the mountain tops with a pink glow that shimmered over the glassy lake.

-- now teal waters
remind of peace.
ominous clouds
hover above,
hazy, but not
threatening; here
creation rests

Mist rises like smoke from the base of waterfalls.
Everywhere the rock faces
are painted with silver,
gold & granite
flecked with pine--
color drips down the sides
an artist dripped his dye here
like I'm in the bottom
of a dried up mason jar of turpentine--
mosaics do not compare
to the artistry of God
in this place.

Kate

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13 comments:

Kate said...

On the night train, we met a group from Texas. We played Spades with them for hours, as if we knew them.

At night,
creaking, moaning
slowly reaching
its thunderous pace.
I've forgotten
the quiet here

At dawn, Ian came into my carriage to wake me and said, "We're getting off in a half hour. And you might want to open your window." I did, and I saw the sun rising over the Alps, with little lights dotting the faces of the mountains. The sun peeked over the mountain tops with a pink glow that shimmered over the glassy lake.

-- now teal waters
remind of peace.
ominous clouds
hover above,
hazy, but not
threatening; here
creation rests

Mist rises like smoke from the base of waterfalls.
Everywhere the rock faces
are painted with silver,
gold & granite
flecked with pine--
color drips down the sides
an artist dripped his dye here
like I'm in the bottom
of a dried up mason jar of turpentine--
mosaics do not compare
to the artistry of God
in this place.

septembermom said...

It began on a train ride when I first noticed his eyes. Long and lean, he would sleep in the craziest positions in a seat built for a smaller man. He caught me staring one time when he was struggling to get comfortable. I didn't have time to turn my gaze back at my book. His eyes smiled first. I could feel the inevitable blush spreading across my face like a fever. After an hour or two of casual glances, he strolled over and asked if he could share the rest of the ride together. Thirty-nine years later, I'm glad that I let him take a seat.

christine said...

It began in a train, this journey.
Green fields surrounding the station. Wild woodlands beyond. Way beyond, dark shadows at the edge of our view.

We sat together. Companions on the journey, which began on this train.

It was my first journey on this route. My first long haul trip. Over twenty four hours of non-stop rails. Clickety clack, clickety clack.

Time and countryside passed us by. We didn't speak all that much. We discussed our luch, then our dinner. Comparing the contents of our packages. Whose wife had laid up the better portions. Whose was more inventive. Naturally, I think mine won.

Now the journey is nearly over. The train saved the best for last. Who could imagine the golden, orange splendour of the sunset on these hills? It's like pumpkins at Halloween, spread thickly ready for the pie.

The conductor and I will soon part. We'll drive different trains tomorrow. I'll head home, but I'll never forget this journey, that started on the train in the green fields and ended in the orange hills.

glnroz said...

It began on a train while completing the last leg of a bucket list type journey that I had been drawn into. Three weeks earlier I had chosen a particular sequence of numbers for a Wednesday lotto drawing and had took a winning of twelve hundred dollars. After taxes, I had enough money left to take a journey to recapture my lifestyle. It had been several years since I had made any attempt at photography. A train ride through the desert and over the mountain range would give ample opportunity to realign my art.

The flat desert landscape had been a treasure trove of subjects. I had already filled over two thirds of my notebook cataloging the images that I had captured. We were beginning to wind through the lower foothills beginning the climb up to the lower peaks. A series of tunnels had been blasted and carved through the mountains to allow for the gradual incline of the tracks. Moments inside the first dark chamber, there was total darkness. The lighting in the common seating had, from some phenomenon , been extinguished. Pitch blackness amplifies sound. Instantly shuffling and crashing was throughout the swaying railcar. There were no cries, but different type of grunts and moaning penetrated where sight was void. Gripping the armrests with white knuckle compression, I waited for what could not be seen. With common logic, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel should be shortly arriving.

Blinding light was worse than no light. Without warning it was as if I was staring directly into the sun. This white darkness seemed more extreme than while we were inside the tunnel. Slowly, as I peered through the widening slits of my closed fingers, my eyes adjusted to the complete quietness around me. I was accompanied by no one. No one. Hastily I gathered my packs and headed rearward toward the adjoining car. In my feverish stumble, the notebook fell in the path of my step. Page thirty three was staring upward. Nothing. Frantically, I retrieved the notebook and scanned its complete contents. Nothing. Looking through the round glass window of the exit door it seemed that I had lost the ability to reason. Surly there was sense to all these happenings. Fixing my sight on the trailing rails, I could not calculate the odd feeling that had come over me. The tracks. The track? That doesn’t make sense. Why are they doing that? As if being chased by a phantom fog, a few feet past the end o the car, the tracks were simply disappearing. Nothing.

Critical Comments welcome,,

_we_the_pieces_ said...

I'm really tempted to say Harry Potter...

~She Poet~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~She Poet~ said...

It began on a train, Row 20, Seat #1 in fact. I was going to Monterey to see her. Mother’s health had taken a turn. Dr. Fletcher called during the wee hours to inform me. I was her only child. I didn’t know my father. Mother told me, when I was a lass, he died during the War. That was all I knew of him and his name, Robert Ludwig. It was too painful for her to disclose more and I never pressed.

While my memories trailed along the tracks, a young girl sought refuge across from me. We gazed at one other. A faint, familiar smile soon slighted her small lips. I cocked my head to the side for she reminded me of myself, vaguely. ‘Tis a mere coincidence, I presumed. Though I could not shake the silent wonderment, who is this strange girl-child? A giggle emanated from her as if she read my mind. Before I could query the whereabouts of her parents, she reached inside her petticoat pocket brandishing what appeared to be a letter. She held it in her tiny hands, smoothing the creases with careful fingers as if the envelope would disintegrate at the merest touch. She pondered over this briefly with a melancholy brow before handing it to me.

Instinctively, I accepted the envelope. Confusion cascaded over me as I watched her rise from the seat. Without a word and before I could speak, she skipped down the aisle, opened the door to a connecting car and crossed over. No one else seem to notice her as I looked around for some logical explanation. Certainly I am dreaming, I thought turning the worn envelope over in my hands with sobering realism. I wanted to jump up and run after that strange girl-child, demand her origin but the mystery of this letter kept me grounded in my seat. The flap was already open, bearing wrinkles of repeated readership.

With shaky hands I removed a dull, copper-colored photograph depicting some lad in military ware. I held my breath in bewilderment upon reading the scribbled lines on back,

“My dearest girl-child, I miss you even though I’ve never seen your sweet face. I shall hold you very soon my budding blossom.”

Love,
Father

Capt. Robert Ludwig


It began on a train, my destined encounter with that mysterious girl-child. A date I shall never forget, ‘twas May 24th, my birthday. As drops of memory fell from my eye the sun cast a silent beam upon her name, engraved in stone. I will miss her…and Father.

Cassandra Ludwig,
loving wife & mother
Born: January 3, 1930
Departed: May 24, 1994


S. Anderson, 7.14.09

Wildspirit said...

I returned from Vietnam in 1965 and caught a train from San Francisco to St. Louis. I was completely drained of all energy and was very tired, having had no sleep for over 36 hours. I went to sleep immediately and woke up in Colorado, feeling somewhat refreshed but still dog tired. My dress blue uniform (you know, the old style with the 13 button flap) was hot but I had orders to travel in it. You gotta remember that was in 1965.

I went to the club car where I met a beautiful brunette named Rita who had just boarded the train in Greely. She was a fashion consultant for a large department store.

After just a few minutes of conversation and lots of eye communication, we retired to the observation car where there were, surprisingly, no people. Sailors home from war and pretty girls then do what sailors and pretty girls were known to do throughout history...graphically recorded by photographer Alfed Eisenstaedt and presented to the world in Life Magazine...(no cameras were present in the observation car darkness.)

The train's Clickety clack lulled me back to dreamland with Rita in my arms. When I awoke in Kansas City, Missouri, she was gone.

That was the best welcome home greeting I ever received, and it happened on a train, my favorite way to travel!

June Freaking Cleaver said...

It began on a train. That's where I first felt righteous indignation. Where I felt that I deserved as much as the next person.

The porter said he only had two seats for us, even though I showed him three tickets.

He actually said, "By the time we get to Phoenix, she'll have a seat." And he wasn't Glenn Campbell.

My anger at the unfairness of it all started simmering, and I began to quietly voice my distress. My daughters tried to quiet me, they weren't used to this vocal mom, this defender of justice, this righter of wrongs.

Even my daughter who had to sit on the floor, at my feet, was telling me it was okay if she didn't have a seat.

The conductor came through our car and asked if everything was all right. Poor man, I let out all 32 years of my frustration at once, as tears welled up in my eyes, and rolled down my cheeks.

He assured me that he would take care of the problem. He led us back to the spiral staircase (and to our luggage), and we went down the stairs and through the aisle to another car.

It was roomy, and had seats that reclined. We got seats in the handicapped section of the train, and enjoyed the extra leg room.

We reached our destination (36 long hours on that train) and gathered with our family for my niece's wedding.

My confidence reached new levels when my sister-in-law and her sister both told me that they were proud of me - that I, if you can believe it, was a good mother. My own mother couldn't get the frown off her face at that comment, I don't think she was convinced.

I love looking at that photo on my desk. Quite a journey - not the 72-hour train trip; I'm talking about the 32 years to get me to my wide, confident smile in the photo.

Dani said...

Now I look back at that moment I was sitting on the train. It's when it all began. Little did I know I would be starting off onto a different pathway in my life. That train ride was a pivotal moment for me. If only I could have known then what I know now. If I had, perhaps I would have run to the back and made a jump for it. But maybe not. Maybe that me would have looked forward to all this like she looked at any adventure, with excitement and a reckless abandon to all things rational. Yep, that was her. That is what used to be me. I now come to think of my past as a different person. A strange reflection, like one I'd see in a fun-house mirror.

After that train ride, she found herself in the middle of a culture and climate she was not accustomed to. She met people she didn't really understand, and who didn't really understand her. What did that matter? She didn't understand herself either. One of them she married. Then he took her places she never imagined going to- and she was swept off in a dream.

Until reality hit when she found she was pregnant. He didn't want her anymore.

Now I look back at her recklessness with all kinds of regret. But that person...she isn't me anymore.

It began on a train, long ago. And now I sit here on the train back home. Back to that home where I belong, and where I should never have left.

The only thing I don't regret is the little bundle I hold in my arms to take back home with me.

Merriam said...

It began on a train.

A train, too old for today.

A train, out of place in the ruby desert.

A train, clinking through time.

A train, not knowing where it was going.

A train, a perfect train.

christine said...

~She Poet~ I loved your piece, it brought tears to my eyes!

~She Poet~ said...

@Christine: Thanks so much for your compliment! I appreciate it. I truly enjoyed reading everyone's posts today, very creative.

Congratulations Kate, a great write and unique format!