Sunday, September 4, 2011

on the Louden Bridge

on the Louden Bridge
three kids waving at a train,
sound of three long blasts

Labor Day weekend. Saturday, rain all day, the first good long rain in two moons, enough to soften the edges of the deep cracks in the ground. Sunday, clear, cool, windy. Everyone is out. Picnics and Frisbee in the parks, swimming in the lake, walking and biking on the trails. We walk the trail from Chautauqua Park to the Louden Bridge over the railroad tracks. Ceramic insets along the bridge depict equipment produced by the Louden Machinery Company since the late 1800s: hay uploading tools, dairy barn equipment, hog house equipment, litter and feed carriers, sliding barn door hangers "to keep out birds." A trio of children are standing in the exact center of the bridge, clinging to the chain link barrier like blonde bats, their little bikes abandoned as they wait for a train to appear. Their father waits patiently. "This is the third train today," he says. "The first one was a loaded coal train going east. It honked at the kids when they waved. The last one was empty, going west. They go really fast when they're empty." The little girl turns to her father, hair blowing across her face. "When is it going to come?" she asks. "Soon." Now we hear the wail of the horn as a train enters the town from the west. "Who's going to see it first?" I ask. "Me!" they all reply. There it is, the headlight shining as it comes around the curve in the distance. "Where's the coal?" the youngest boys asks. "It's not a coal train," their father answers. "It's carrying other things, covered up to protect them." The kids start waving when the engine gets close enough. The engineer lays on the horn, three long blasts. The little girl grins up at me. "One for each of us!"

No comments:

Post a Comment