Friday, September 26, 2014


The sound of whistles is carried this direction by the wind. They signal that the engineers are moving the antique equipment in the railroad museum, about a mile from where I am at. It is tempting to walk over and have a look as the old steam engines are brought back to life, and monumental pieces of railroad history slowly start moving again, spitting out billowing clouds of smoke and steam.
The magic of the big wheels turning, the proud look on the face of the engineer, and the hard labor to feed the fire at the heart of the huge locomotive…

The whistles are most definitely sounds of an era long gone. A time when pretty much any journey, no matter how short to today’s standards, was an adventure. Not only because of the opportunity to explore new things, but because of the trip itself. To be brought to this other place at ‘breakneck speed’, pulled over the rails by this enormous, magical beast that is spitting out steam as it moves along. Hearing the cadence of the wheels, and the warning whistle whenever the engineer felt someone was to close to the tracks as he approached.

There are still places where the whistles sounds at the train’s approach of every railroad crossing. It is a safety feature, warning those that feel they can still make it across before the train actually gets there.
Yet somehow the magic has gone from railroad travel, as it has been relegated to being a quick and easy way to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’, especially in urban areas. It is a manner in which big, heavy loads can be transported across the country. Perhaps not that fast, but certainly reliable.
And arguably the biggest advantage of taking the train nowadays is the fact that you can sit down and get some work done. Trains even have WiFi, so you don’t have to miss a beat as you prepare for that meeting, or are doing your homework.
And looking outside is no longer something that sparks awe and wonder, but rather a check to see how much further you need to go.

A sign of the times…

We tend to speed ourselves from one event to another, whether that is by ‘train, plane, or automobile’, totally focused on the event; on what needs to be done. And maybe even on what we get out of it. The trip, the actual getting to where we have to go, has become an inconvenience rather than the adventure it used to be back then…

And somehow it feels like a shame to have lost that magical experience…

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