January 13, 2009
I like to see it lap the miles
Last week, I spend days walking around the crowded streets of Big City Like No Other, going into museums or cafes when I was cold. I saw huge paintings and giant statues and glass cases full of delicate jewelry. I wandered around ChinaTown, admiring all the bright red and gold decorations that hung for sale from racks in front of stores. No matter where I went, people were rushing about, hurrying to work, or walking their dogs in the park by the river, or crowding to shove their bodies into packed trains.
The scenery on the train ride home was desolate in comparison. By the time the train emerged from the tunnel, we’d already left behind the crowds, the yellow taxis, the stands of bright-coloured fruit, and the city folks hurrying along sidewalks. All I could see was a river rushing along under tall bridges, and fields of snow.
As we moved west and north, the weather changed. The river was filled with ice and the trees along the track covered with snow. We were driving into a storm, a blur of whiteness shaped by cold wind and the rush of the train. I couldn’t even see the small towns that I knew were there, just trees and clouds and snow. I spread my winter coat over my legs and ate the apple I’d brought with me. I could hear the guy behind me talking on his cell phone, “Yeah, it’s some kind of storm. Like … a lot of snow.”
Most of the other passengers seemed to be sleeping, or at least lulled into numbness by the rhythm of the movement or the sight of the whirling snow. I fell into a daydream in which I was traveling to the north pole on the Polar Express. How cool it would be to pass deep forests and wolves and then glittering fields of ice.
Suddenly I recognized the rusty metal of a familiar bridge. “The green bridge!” I said aloud. Everyone in Traintrack Village calls it that, even though most of the green paint rusted off long ago. My announcement stirred the other passengers, who began getting up, looking for their coats, and taking down bags and suitcases. We were almost home.
Posted by jo(e)