Friends, I have lived near the RR tracks all my life. I love the sound of the wind as the freights rush by. I love the smell of creosote and diesel. I ache all over when I hear a far-away whistle. The following is a my interpretation of what tra(i)nspired one night not too long ago... ============================================================ Late at night, when the moon was full, a train ran by my house. The locomotive let out a single, wheezy whistle, a guilty sigh that was more like a plea for forgiveness than the warning it ought to have been. Perhaps it was the engineer's voice I heard? Behind the engine were passenger cars. They were longer than any I had ever seen. They ran very smoothly on the cold rails, a whisper after the gasp of the engine. They were dark brown, like ground coffee. There was golden lettering on their sides. There was a bright light at the end of each car, just above a door, which led to a small walkway. Polished brass handrails curved around this open platform. The lights filtered through the tall corn in my garden. The strange, stark shadows seemed to float in my bedroom, as if projected, without touching the walls. Occasionally, a car window glowed from within, like a candle seen through honey. I did not see any passengers. There were flatcars between the passenger cars. On them were pickup trucks, tall crates and long, wrapped objects. They could have been sleeping giants. Or rolls of newsprint. I saw trucks with trailers. One was attached to an Airstream motor home, a silver cocoon in the light of the moon. I saw trucks with fabric covering their beds, like military transports. Like a circus caravan. But this was not a military train. Nor was it a circus train. It could not be. It was too beautiful to be something so pedestrian. The train ran due north, out of the flatlands, up into the High Desert. It was not in a hurry. I tried to count the cars, but I could not. I tried to count the windows in a passing car, but I could not. I tried to read the golden letters, but I could not. I tried to look away, but I could not. I sat at the edge of my bed, mesmerized by the shadows dancing in my bedroom. By the soft hissing of the cars as they slid past. By the bright lights between each car. By the icy snowball moon shining behind the train. I stared through the window in wonderment, agape, draped in light and shadow. Then silence smoothly took the place of sound. Then darkness gently took the place of light. But still the pewter moon glared brightly through my window. The train had passed. The no-sound of its ghost flooded the room. My heart pounded. I willed the train to return. It did not come back. I thought I saw the full moon wink as I lay back down on my cool pillow. I love trains.