I decided to add an optional soundtrack to this post so if you wish some aural accompaniment scroll down to the bottom for the marvellous Anxious Heart from the old yet fantastic Playstation game Final Fantasy VII. The music first features (if memory serves) whilst the player negotiates a hazardous train graveyard and that is a good enough if slightly tenuous link for the post but also I think it fits so that’s alright then.
I came across this photo by accident and after marvelling at all the details it had to offer, sat wondering where such a tunnel would lead.
The obsolete railway line glimpsed briefly as I thunder by, peels off to a bygone era. Overgrown and untended its track leads to the melancholy past. Glimpsed through a steamed up window in cold weather, my thoughts melt into the heat of the train and the rhythmic gyrations lead me to doze and imagine the end of that forgotten line:
The Journey to the Past,
The half way point of the tunnel is where I find myself, a noiseless cocoon burrowing through a hill. Light is but two specks keeping complete darkness and the illusory world of sensory deprivation at bay. The silence is all-consuming, peaceful, cold and impenetrable, a place imbued in equal parts solace and the fears from time immemorial.
Coming into the rich light, seeing the world aglow with new radiance, the dilapidated nature of the tracks have a sharper clarity, sleepers missing or pushing themselves up from the Earth in an effort to be noticed, needed again. A station appears around a bend, sheltering under overhanging foliage as if for comfort. The platform is worn concrete cracked by formidable weeds, A bare waiting room glimpsed through the yawn of a window, a hollow echo of warmth now dissipated, of journeys diverging and lives changed irrevocably.
The old hub of a forgotten place, a clandestine town hidden nearby perhaps, moved on to modern times leaving behind the flow of community where people met and parted with smiles and tears. It’s human ebb and flow, the breathing of the station, once alive, the feelings resonating down through the years, reminding me that I am mortal. The delicate touch of history remains imperceptibly though that classic train station smell.
I decide that this place is the wait, the hesitation, the reticence broken only by that hiss of brakes as journeys cease and begin here. Where everything remains still, waiting, except for the birds who wheel about in their carefree attitudes. The platform is empty now but the soul is full, anticipating the next inhale. It is here I long to linger. Regardless, I walk on, perhaps to discover a discarded carriage, ornate paint peeling from its sides, snugly resting against some hardy buffers, its seats now the home of grateful wildlife.
There is a sudden jolt and I am backtracked to this life where only the residue of my thoughts on that mysterious track remain. As the jostle to disembark commences in earnest, there comes a fading whistle of a train in the distance but is it real or an echo from my dream? I choose to believe in the fantasy.