Except for two years when I lived in Happy Valley (a.k.a. Penn State's main campus) I've always lived within earshot of the train.
Railroad tracks run just beyond the back yard of the house where I grew up. Trains were part of my childhood landscape -- and soundtrack. I counted freight cars from our back bedroom window on more than one summer night, the rhythmic clatter of train against rail a soothing, almost hypnotic sound.
The Iron Horse steam engine used to rumble by once a summer back in the '60s. It was an event we all looked forward to -- and our back yard offered front-row seats.
|Birds on the wires.|
My house now isn't so close to the tracks, but I can still hear the train whistle in the distance, a lovely, somewhat mournful chord that sounds as trains approach Ardsley station.
Not long ago I was on the phone with a friend who lives on the other side of town, also within earshot of the tracks.
As we talked, I heard the whistle of a train passing through Ardsley. A few minutes later, I heard the whistle again -- but this time through the phone. That same train was moving on toward Philadelphia, its tone carrying across the field next to my friend's house.
I heard the sound and smiled. It was such a moment of connection, the same feeling I get when I look at the moon, and know that a loved one far away could be seeing the same sight.
A few months back, my husband and I saw a rainbow; when we talked to our daughter later in the day, she mentioned seeing the same rainbow. Such a sweet and simple pleasure.
We humans share so many connections on this planet.
They remind me how much we're all in this together.