Monday, August 18, 2008
Through the drizzle, under the moody sky, here comes my train. It was early this day. Usually if I'm coming home around 8:45, it's scuttling back and forth across the road, moving cars from track to track in and out of the chemical plant. The gates come down, I stop, I stare. Over the years here, I've see it so often that I've claimed it as my own.
Trains are another of the many fascinations haunting the recesses of my mind. As a child in bed I could hear the train's whistle through the darkness as it crossed the county trestle, making its way from Edwardsville and Winchester to East St. Louis. In the spring and fall when my windows are open to the night, that same whistle blows down by the river. Besides the lonely sound epitomized in song after song, trains are a history. The old cars and engines are gigantic antiques, telling stories of hard work, pain and romance. In the blink of an eye, I can while away hours at the Museum of Transport in St. Louis County. Climbing on old steam and diesel engines like the child I am in my heart, I take pictures and daydream about a time when life was both harder and simpler. As with many other romanticized views of the past, it is most likely inaccurate, but then it wouldn't be a dream, would it? So go away, leave my train alone; let us have our fun.