Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Twilight & a river

In last night's dream I sit on a hillside above the Yakima river east of Cle Elum.

Someone is with me. Probably my wife Jo, perhaps one of our adult daughters, or my sister, or a friend, but certainly someone I am entirely comfortable with.

It is twilight.

The canyon is almost entirely in darkness. There are lights at a distant farm. The river catches the last light from the sky and reflects it back.

For sharp eyes, thin lines of light reflect from the railroad tracks, where the railheads have been polished by passing trains.

We have been talking quietly since before sunset, sitting just above where the hillside's slope breaks into near cliffs.

Now we are silent, listening to the distant sounds of a train approaching from the east - first the diesel's horns sounding their way through Thorp, then the growing throb of the diesel engines themselves.

A glow from the locomotive headlights gradually appears, then their bright illumination appears on the opposite side of the river, briefly restoring near-daylight to a sweeping patch of hillside and river and trees.

The train rounds the bend from our left to pass beneath us.

We watch and listen as the noise of the heavy diesel engines fades and the train continues beyond us, replaced by the steadier rumble & random metallic creaks of the loaded freight cars. A final surge of diesel noise marks the passage of the rear-end locomotives, and then the sounds gradually fade again.

Coal train.

The distant murmur of the river reasserts itself.

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