Saturday, March 21, 2009
There's just something about trains. When the Amtrak whizzes past not far from the house it's a barely noticeable sound, and quickly gone. Although when I hear it I still get little goosebumps. I have traveled by train and enjoyed it a lot.
But when the freight trains rumble by the house, it's much louder, and for a much longer time. The sound stirs such funny feelings within me - very poignant nostalgia, and thoughts of me as a little girl in my Grandmother's old Victorian house in a small town in Ohio, and falling asleep in the summer with the 10 foot tall windows open and the sounds of small town life the lullaby I drifted off to. Feelings of longing and wondering, of changing and new things, and a whole big world out there waiting to be discovered.
Decades later here in Maryland I lived with my then husband on the other side of this town. We had tracks on that side of town too, and they had many street crossings to make. So as one of the freight trains passed by there was a series of whistles, the mournful moan a counterpoint to my busy and hectic life. The tracks there are located along a ridgeline, and echo across the valley to the other side. Most easily heard at night, taking me right back to my small-town home away from home at Grandmother's house.
Since the tracks behind my house here are primarily for Amtrak, there are no crossings, and no whistles from the occasional freight trains. But the rumble alone is enough to take me back, I don't have to hear the whistle. So it seems there's just something about trains in general rather than the train whistles.
I wonder if this is tied in somehow to my delight and obsession with new roads. I also wonder if this is related to my need for constant change and improvement. I know that desire for and comfort with change is not typical of other people, I just know that I always want to be a better version of myself, and seek for a better version of life for myself and those around me. Is that somehow my sense of what trains give? I don't know. It seems perhaps too convoluted. Maybe I'm applying 8 lane highway thinking to a 1 lane dirt road concept. (I'm good at that.)
I just know that when I hear a train, freight or high speed, with or without whistle, I get funny, gooey feelings inside. I feel squishy and have a sense of longing and need. Longing and need for what I couldn't possibly say. Which is why I'm trying to sort this all out.
Could just be the sense of the unknown, or something exotic and different. I really don't know. I'm not dissatisfied with who I am or what my life is, I don't need new and different. I enjoy new and different, but I'm also fine without it. I just don't understand this longing. Perhaps it's something from my childhood. I do know my Grandmother's house had a profound impact on me. It is this amazing 13 room old Victorian house with a porch swing and ghosts in the attic and all kinds of wonders old and new for my childlike mind to understand.
I had to have a front porch on the last house (the one the ex had built for me,) so I could hang a porch swing, sit, watch, and listen to the world like I did many years ago in a town almost 500 miles away. Sadly, this cottage I bought for son and me after the divorce has no front porch, and my porch swing languishes in the basement of Mom's house. The house she just sold so she can move in with my sister, so I need to decide what to do with my swing. It might help me decide what to do with the swing if I can figure out what it is about the porch swing and trains that stirs such feelings and longings in me.
I don't know. Sometimes blogging helps me discover answers as I write - not this time. Maybe some of you can help. And if not, I also know that all will be well, one way or the other, in time. It's ok not to know.