Mid morning, dark cloud covered sky. Light from farm sheds none from the sun. Trees leaf-less, life-less it seems, to the casual eye but they are instead, busy making time for leisure, with their excesses shed, the essentials laid bare, recouping, renewing, restoring their reserves to re-emerge again even more beautiful and experienced.
Inside the train, artificial light, real people either going towards or from. Little or no conversation, hushed and mumbled words float past from time to time like the tea-trolley attendant, offering tempting tit-bits. Dark coloured clothing, black, grey, oxblood red at best, mimicks the dark sky and subdued mood.
Externally, bare fields bereft of livestock, boggy in parts and pale yellow sit patiently waiting, Spring not too long off. Destination getting closer. Clouds, fluffy and smoke like, obscure the distant dark blue grey mountain, swirling about it.
Charleville, passengers alight from and enter into this cocooned, warm world. Signals permit our onward journey into rural countryside again. Digital technology ‘as Gailge’ and in English reiterate and reassure us of life being on the right track. Momentum building, life rushes past, through some dark tunnels only to emerge again as always to daylight, as surely as the trough that follows an anxiety peak.
Cars stopped at the level crossing, patiently waiting, so much of our time is given over to waiting. The visi-vest clad attendant leans towards the open driver’s window in full throws of conversation. What better way to maximise those out of our control; time-trapped moments.
Onward, relentlessly, observing life in silence within our cocooned world, fractured only by a technology enabled call. One sided conversation audible only. It mirrors many one to one conversations where respect never resides. From a deep, tree and shrub covered embankment, overwhelming and claustrophobic, reminiscent of the lonesome and isolated Christmas endured by some, we emerge to the welcom buzz of Charleville station.
Now the final leg of the journey and coincidentally the ticket master arrives and in a flash marks my ticket, like a fatal medical diagnosis and comments ‘perfect thanks’, as if justifying a fulfilled journey.
We momentarily halt in no man’s land, awaiting a decision from higher powers but luck is on our side and we motor forward obviously remission or getting the all clear. Renewed opportunity to continue our adventure.
New colours joined us in Mallow, in both shades of skin and clothing. Some denim and winter white with a splash of burnt orange brings welcome life and a hope of a widened gene-pool.
Train shunts more now from side to side, shaking and making balance less certain and at the same time the track climbs upward, symbolic of advancing years.
A sister train streaks past in the opposite direction, in a flash so brief, once laughing and playing school and shop and making mud pies, long gone now, down-track.
Moments now to our destination, full exceleration, countryside flying past, excitement building, an opportunity for friendship and shared conversations, writing a new page, laying tracks and future plans. Filling the day with happiness and hope of adventures and memories to savor!
…Thank you for reading and I hope it stirred memories of train journeys and friendship for you!