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A Thoughtful Sidetrack

27 Jun

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.

 

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41 Comments

Posted by on 27/06/2015 in My Writings, Poetry

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

41 responses to “A Thoughtful Sidetrack

  1. Morgan

    27/06/2015 at 19:59

    I enjoyed the fantasy as well, and what a spectacular visual prompt 🙂 It was a nice diversion on this rainy afternoon 🙂

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      27/06/2015 at 20:04

      There are certain photos which demand more than just a good looking at and I do like the ones that lead me to new places. Diversions are what makes it all worthwhile, I would like nice cooling rain shower tonight (saves on the electricity bill, ha!) because there is no pleasing us Brits with the weather.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Morgan

        28/06/2015 at 17:50

        Nor us Americans…we love to Wine..er..I mean Whine 🙂

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  2. shadowoperator

    27/06/2015 at 21:12

    What a lovely piece of prose, Ste J! I too love train journeys, and like them all the better for being through beautiful scenery, scenery that reminds me of all the journeys I’ve ever taken. I hope you have many such inspirations, since I like reading your reminiscences very much.

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    • Ste J

      27/06/2015 at 21:21

      There is something about the whole train experience that pleases me, I think it is partly the solitude despite being crushed up against a fellow traveller and the scenery, mix those two and I have to wonder why I haven’t blogged about trains more often. It’s an introspective journey into one’s self taking a trip on rails. Finally I feel the inspiration for words coursing through my veins in a sustained way, thank you as always for reading.

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  3. clarepooley33

    27/06/2015 at 22:36

    Lovely evocative writing Ste. I agree, train journeys are special. My youngest daughter and I will be going on a train journey to see my eldest daughter in Sheffield in a few days time. A great opportunity for letting your imagination run riot. I like to dream and people watch (and listen to conversations too!)

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    • Ste J

      28/06/2015 at 07:23

      People watching is great, as a juicy bit of gossip even if it is about people we don’t know. Scenery on the railways always has that unkempt look about it, old buildings and overgrown sidings and so forth but I like that, it is the playground for the best type of imaginings. I wonder how many kindred spirits there are with us on our train journeys.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • clarepooley33

        28/06/2015 at 17:19

        Good question! I don’t see as many people as I used to do, just sitting and looking out of the window. Everyone seems to be engrossed in their phones though that’s not to say they aren’t earwigging at the same time. I am amazed at the things some women do on the train! It’s probably my age and the way I was brought up (I’m getting old) but I always thought putting make-up on in public was bad enough but on recent trips I seen one woman changing her blouse and using deodorant and another using hair straighteners! I ought to end this signed ‘Disgusted of Suffolk’.

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        • Ste J

          05/07/2015 at 20:12

          Haha, that made me laugh. Everyone seems to have ear phones on these days and I get that it is a lot better to do that than end up uncomfortably stuck talking to somebody when you wish to be in public solitude but yes we are a nation that needs to be doing something. I don’t read on any transport except aeroplanes, there is stuff to see out the window and if not, then stories to be thought up, blog posts to be written in my mind. The train is a think of the past for me these days, they are so poorly run and priced, it’s a joke.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  4. vsvevg

    28/06/2015 at 12:20

    I didn’t have to chose. You made me believe 🙂

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    • Ste J

      28/06/2015 at 13:18

      Excellent, I do like to conjure images and thoughts in people, I always wonder if I get the balance between detail I put in and what’s left to the imagination right but that is subjective and a long as people like my output then I am happy to share.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Michelle James

    30/06/2015 at 02:19

    Lovely writing. The picture is amazing. I’m sure there are many more stories to be told here.

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    • Ste J

      05/07/2015 at 19:58

      It is photo to conjure a thousand stories, if Helen of Troy had this photo stuck to her forehead she wold have been plenty more beguiling methinks.

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  6. leapingtracks

    02/07/2015 at 11:08

    Woo hoo. As someone who loves a good soundtrack to a text or visual, this had me beaming – thrills and spills abound – bravo 🙂

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    • Ste J

      05/07/2015 at 19:57

      I think combining different mediums to enhance a story brings more atmosphere, I’m glad you liked it, I do like to try and tickle as many senses as I can.

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  7. readinpleasure

    03/07/2015 at 18:32

    Your beautiful prose reminds me of a song we used to sing in Sunday school long ago; Holiday Express. You took me along and I couldn’t resist. Brilliant as always, Ste J. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      05/07/2015 at 20:19

      What an unexpected bonus to my words, I am glad I could remind you of something from the past and then take you somewhere new for a while. I shall have to take you out again, bring sandwiches!

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  8. RoSy

    03/07/2015 at 22:26

    Playing the music in the background sure added to the words of your post! It’s like I was in a different place just then.

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    • Ste J

      05/07/2015 at 20:00

      That’s what I aimed for, to pull you into a little journey to somewhere different, what you say and how the music affected that is unique to you and that’s what blows my mind. Everybody’s experiences make them experience the images they form differently and nobody else will see exactly what you did even though they have the same words.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Andrea Stephenson

    05/07/2015 at 22:14

    Great photo Ste – I love railways and particularly old, abandoned ones. Your writing is wonderful – eloquent, beautiful imagery.

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    • Ste J

      06/07/2015 at 19:55

      Thank you, I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity once the photo filled my screen and that old railway vibe still resonates through the whole country, just a pity that today’s modern railways are so sanitised and bleak.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. Chelsea Brown

    06/07/2015 at 02:08

    This is truly when you know that you’re meant for the arts, as well as literary profession. When your mind can wander off into a fantasy over a piece of history; which had long since been forgotten.
    Let your artistic side and imagination flow freely.

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    • Ste J

      06/07/2015 at 20:03

      Your first sentence truly made me smile, words are such a gift and you have gifted me a wonderful prize, thank you. I need to wander to some truly old place and get my think on there, although there is that pub dating from 1189AD, the first in England that is pretty local to me, to drink where knights did before they set off on the third Crusade is something that should inspire me. That and it has the bonus of being difficult to slur my words when I write them hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Chelsea Brown

        07/07/2015 at 04:06

        Well I’m glad that my first sentence could give you such a gift, and I am flattered that it meant something to you. As for your pub I find that most definitely to be an interesting and colorful piece of history; which should inspire one to write. I think that I’d like to get a buzz on where knights once did as well. Although I feel that the words “Where-s my battle sword?” ( Followed by a hiccup, and my feet stumbling as I try to leave the bar stool. To attempt to exit the pub and sleep off my drunken state of affairs.) Might just occur if I were to visit such an historic spot.

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        • Ste J

          09/07/2015 at 08:32

          I can imagine the carnage of drunk men with swords, I am surprised the pub has lasted 826 years in that case. if you do visit the pub, let me know I will get you a pint of ale or two in.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Chelsea Brown

            13/07/2015 at 03:22

            Yeah the would be a mess, but it’s cool to think of an establishment last for so long. It’s actually pretty amazing.
            I’ll have to take you up on that pint when I come across the pond one day, I feel like we’d make quite the pair.

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            • Ste J

              13/07/2015 at 18:14

              Especially if we came armed with swords and had many a ribald songs for the saucy serving wenches!

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  11. LuAnn

    06/07/2015 at 15:45

    The imagery you evoke with your words is amazing Ste J. I am in awe of what this image pulled from you.

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    • Ste J

      06/07/2015 at 19:57

      Two creative posts in the space of a month, something must be up with me lol! Or maybe I am teaching myself to actually be able to write more diversely, either way, as long you like it I am happy and will endeavour to be inspired more often.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. Sherri

    10/07/2015 at 18:35

    Love this Ste…my daughter is sitting here listening to the song as I type this, having just read your delightful story. I love your photo, your ‘fantasy’ and the music. My kids used to play Final Fantasy VII all the time, so this is very evocative. Beautiful imagery. I have taken so many train journeys and my mind always wanders – and wonders – at such times. Love this: ‘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.’ Perfection…

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      11/07/2015 at 19:37

      Final Fantasy VII was a novelistic game and I think that’s what attracted me to it, there was such sadness and great comedy and a huge cast, I spent over 150 hours on that game, good memories. Trains are the mode of transport for dreamers, provided you can get a seat that is and a cheap ticket which is a challenge these days! Perfection is a strong word…thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Sherri

        13/07/2015 at 15:52

        Perfection is what it meant to me my friend 🙂

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  13. Cody McCullough

    11/07/2015 at 06:48

    I have to agree, the imagery painted by your words was amazing. I particularly liked the ending about choosing to believe in the fantasy. Great work!

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    • Ste J

      11/07/2015 at 19:25

      Thank you, it took a lot of work as I know you appreciate from your own comments, I spent time weighing words, usually on the bus for some reason but whatever works. Real life is rubbish, I will always go for the fantasy, it makes everything so much better.

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  14. sakuraandme

    21/07/2015 at 10:45

    I love the fantasy! I want to get on that train like a ghost and see what was left behind. The smiles, the tears, everything! 🙂
    So, where do I get on?? Haha
    Many hugs to you, Paula xxx

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    • Ste J

      21/07/2015 at 18:22

      If you care to climb inside my mind you will get a strange trip of madness, folly and popcorn but please keep your hands and head inside the train at all times as I would hate to get sued for something in my head which I am not responsible for, possibly.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • sakuraandme

        22/07/2015 at 04:23

        Hahahahaha!!
        You cracked me up!! I’m keen, let the train trip begin. Lol xx

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  15. writersideup

    17/08/2015 at 07:12

    Isn’t it glorious where the right images can take us? And, oh, where it took your imagination. I love the way you write, Ste. I was lost in your words. Such beautiful prose… ” …through the yawn of a window…” Stellar stuff 🙂

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    • Ste J

      17/08/2015 at 09:26

      I have always loved the railways so when I saw this it didn’t take much to take me on a journey when I saw the photo. It always makes me happy to be able to capture people for a time and give them a journey to explore and with each reader’s own unique experiences and imagery it changes…it is that that fascinates me.

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      • writersideup

        17/08/2015 at 16:33

        I’m with you on that and wish I had more time to do it myself. Someday…

        Meanwhile, I love this image and it beckons the imagination, even for someone who doesn’t have an actual love for railways. You brought it to life so well 🙂

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        • Ste J

          17/08/2015 at 20:38

          It is rare I feel I have done actual justice to my original post idea but on reflection and from the wonderful comments, I really think I have here, I appreciate your support.

          Like

           

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