Train Whistle Calling

I should have known better. My hosts in Vancouver are ex prairie people, one family of firm German stock moved north from Saskatchewan to Fort St. John, to farm. We talked growing up on a farm talk this evening. Day old chicks, making ends meet, trying pig farming, horses, bridles and bits. And the country. We looked at photographs; weddings and puffy hair, smiles and memories. It all made so much sense, she said, reading about a Mennonite boyhood in the Boreal forest of Saskatchewan. Great book by Rudy Wiebe, ‘of this earth’, published this year. Uh! I should have know better, but I knew what I was doing. Opened up the book and an hour latter it’s nearly midnight.

Just writing that was refreshing.

But that wasn’t what I’d intended. It was the sound of the train whistle calling up the valley this morning that’s been with me most of the day. That haunting sound, the echoes bouncing and fading. Evocative.

All that arises, passes.

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One thought on “Train Whistle Calling”

  1. Maybe it’s because trains are noisy beasts but it’s surprising how often I have found myself sitting within earshot of a railway. In my old home in Lancashire expresses used to rattle past the end of the garden and at the Lancaster meditation group you could hear every train announcement from the nearby station. Where else in the world could you do zazen in the knowledge that the Morecambe train was ten minutes late?

    On a trip to North America I can recall Espee trains in the night while walking down the cloister at Shasta and BNSF freights passing during evening meditation with the Whitefish, Montana group.

    Here in Japan I can hear the clanging of our crossing at Hyuuga station when I sit and sometimes you can just make out the sound of passing trains on the Tokaido Line at the foot of the hill at Tsurumi when if you meditate at Sojiji.

    I guess the one place I’m never likely to hear passing trains from is Throssel Hole Abbey. In West Allendale it’s more likely to be military aircraft on training exercises that come and go.

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