Once upon a time, trains were the way to go. Last week, my son — a longtime railroad enthusiast — was offered a rare opportunity, to travel through the Blackstone Valley by train. There are no longer any passenger trains here and even the freight trains come through perhaps once a week.
You can hear the long whistle as they approach the town. The train station is no longer a stop of the rail line. It has been saved from destruction, originally turned into a bank and now a real estate office and it is beautiful, but the train doesn’t stop there or anywhere in this part of the Valley.
My son took these pictures on a slow, rainy train journey through the swamps and woods of the Blackstone Valley. They have lain here, in my files, waiting for a time to properly present them. A little processing to make them more painterly … and they are ready.
The tracks are old and narrow and the train, which runs once a week and goes from one yard to another, never exceeds five miles per hour.
Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Challenge. This challenge is about the roads, walks, trails, and rails we travel as we move from place to place. You can walk, climb, drive, ride, as long as the way is visible.
Trains and tracks, trucks and roads. Boats on rivers, in harbor, on the ocean. Planes in the air. Going every which way.
Still waiting. Still holding my breath. The loss of my job when the company went bankrupt — my career when my health failed — and my husband’s after 31 years for no good reason and at the same time. The loss of 100% of our income. Two years, zero income, no help from anywhere or anyone.
My son’s career crashing with the towers on 9/11. Huddling together. Three generations trying to survive as the world fell around us. Me, a botched surgery — getting sicker and sicker. No medical care until so close to dead I felt the reaper’s wings brush my face. Then — a miracle. Help! Better (is the siege really over?) until cancer. Surviving again, feeling better — NOW it’s my heart. But we don’t have the money to fund the surgery and rehab.
All lights are headlights of oncoming trains.
Still waiting to exhale. It’s been more than a decade and my breath is tight and painful in my chest. Or maybe it’s my heart. Who can tell?
Yet we laugh. Often. Because life is absurd, hilarious, crazy, mad. Laugh or die sad and full of tears. After all, we shall all die of something eventually … I prefer to do it laughing.
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