Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Wail in the Distance

The tracks stretched out before me this morning like an endless trail -- a trail of wanderlust, journey, adventure. I intently watched the signal down the tracks for change. Soon, it changed from green to yellow signifying a train was on the way. The distant wail of an air horn could be heard far down the tracks beyond the bend. I placed my ear upon the rails like I always did as a child in this very same fashion to listen for the characteristic clickety clack of steel wheels upon steel rails over expansion joints. I grew excited and walked over to sit upon the bench behind the bank to enjoy the passing of a freight.

Ferret told me the other day that he hates these trains. "They keep me up all damn night," he said. Ferret's campsite is only a few hundred yards from the rails. I, on the other hand, revel in these great mechanical beasts. Often, I will lay in bed with Rosa by my side as I listen to that mournful wail of a freight train passing far downtown on the tracks, sleepless. It evokes fond childhood memories of my love for trains. It also stirs within me a deep loneliness and an unsettling feeling -- an urge to strike out and explore the rickety, ramshackle backsides of small towns in the South. I once hiked these rails to God's country a few summers ago and it is in my blog archives somewhere. The was a grand, but uncomfortably hot adventure.

We go today to buy Rosa a bicycle and I am excited. Rosa has some misgivings about it, though. She thinks she is too old to be riding a bike and will feel uncomfortable doing so. "The only people that ride bikes around here are you, poor black people, kids, and those exercise obsessed yuppies with the expensive road bikes and back spandex shorts," she told me. I tried to encourage her to break from conventional thought and for us to enjoy some rides together. She would be able to ride over anytime she wanted to see me and I was unable to go pick her up.

"Just think of the good times we could share," I told her enthusiastically, trying to share my love of bike riding.

"I guess," Rosa said. "It is still going to make me feel weird. Besides, those bike seats hurt my butt something terrible."

I laughed.

"We will buy you a more comfortable seat."

I am so excited about today. Today I will enjoy the simple things. I will look up for the moon, stand in a spotlight of sun, and I will inhale with a purpose. I'll notice the breeze through my clothes, in my hair, through me. I will slow down and enjoy every pleasure today has. This day is going to be delicious.


Cheryl said...

A bike would be ideal for Rosa. I didn't think she cared so much for what other people think. It will give her freedom.

I'd love nothing better than to explore small southern towns. Today I'll be traveling the crowded passage of I-95, passing over massive bridges and viewing fields of fuel storage tanks and then the landscape of NYC. Quite a different day than you. I hope your day is delicious.

WhistlinGypsy said...

Once upon a time i had a purple bike with a basket and bell that i rode to work... it was wonderful. good for the environment, good for me- and good for you for treating rosa!

zirelda said...

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer true.
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a handsome marriage.
I can't afford a carriage.
But won't you look sweet, upon the seat
of a bicycle built for two.

That immediately popped into my head. Sing it to her and see what she says.

I used to live next to a train depot. The trains gave a constant rumble which I found comforting. When I moved, it was difficult to sleep without that rumble.

CJM-R said...

It is all about the simple things... and it is so great that you want to share your love of bike riding with Rosa.

Happy trails!

Barb said...

"I will inhale with a purpose" that is wonderful and something I have never thought of before. Thank you for that my dear Andrew. I am feeling pityful right now, as I am having alot of symptoms that are new and causing new disabling changes. You gave me simple things to be conscious of and be thankful for. I always take something from your post-

Thank you with all of my heart~

Josie Two Shoes said...

Wow - what a beautiful attitude to start the morning with! We all need the reminder to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures!

I think it is wonderful that you want to share your love of bike riding with Rosa - she might just find she enjoys it if she will allow herself to do so! Tell her bicycling is not only for children, but also for the young at heart. It sounds like a wonderful plan for an outing and I wish you both a great day!

KYRIE said...

I never learned to ride a bike. I kept getting so many bruises while I tried to learn tht my dad gave away my bike whn I was 7 :)

I am crazy about ships and ferries ever since I was a kid. Growing up near the sea, I used to ship watch for hours! To me the ships were majestic creatures of the sea.
Never much of a train person though.

Bought the bike yet?

mago said...

Remembered an old blues line like
"Choose a freight train to be my friend", maybe Howling Wolf somewhere.
Have a good day!


congrat's on the bike for tell her I said so myself, "you're never too old to ride a bike!!"
Trains are glorious to me..I remember hearing them growing up, when staying at my grandparents house..and the way they'd sound off in the distance in my parents home-so relaxing..just like birds.
I'm glad you're having a good day!!!