I remember the first time I heard the sound of a train – I was a small child visiting my grandmother in Jonesville, South Carolina. The tracks were several miles from her home. Though trains ran throughout the day, I only heard them in the morning and evening. But, that wail intrigued me – I had seen pictures of passenger trains, and distant sounds kindled day dreams. My grandmother’s house still stands – does a child dream when she or he hears a distant wail?
The next time I heard a train’s horn, I was a junior at the University of Maryland – our apartment was literally right by the tracks. The landlord said we’d get used to it; he was right. After the first couple of days I rarely heard it. I had no time for dreams.
But now, that distant wail – haunting and familiar – is clearly discernible at our new house! As I sat down with coffee, it greeted me – having said a goodnight before I retired. I have time for musing – Does that train wend its way east and north through South Carolina, and Jonesville, onto College Park, perhaps then chugging into Grand Central? Another train now passes. This is no way to get a morning’s housework done!