Monday, 3 October 2011

The Playlist

Come down now, they'll say 
But everything looks perfect from far away 
Come down now but we'll stay*

There is a playlist for riding the Amtrak past gigantic warehouses and grain silos, past the heap of crushed metal and glass– junked cars and computers, with barges going up and down the rivers, bridges with arches and bridges suspended by cables, the red and white oldsmobile waiting for the green light, the far away solitary house winking through the clouds, the cows out to pasture, the kayaks out in the lake, the cyclists scrambling up the hill, the horses running in the fields, the Canada geese grazing on the golf course, two pink plastic flamingos seeking company out in the yard, the man and boy walking to the quayside, the yarrow flowering by the rail side; yellow, white and pink, the grasses going to seed, the petunias, blue and white, tumbling down from baskets, hanging from lampposts, in one town and then the next and then the next and so on, the waves trying to outrun the train collapsing in exhaustion just short of the tracks, as another train rumbles by with carriages marked Vancouver and Santa Fe; the bald eagle completes a circle and starts to circle again. The sun goes down, the clock reads 8:30 PM and home is not yet within sight but not that far away. The songs have come to an end. And one presses replay.

Yes, there is a playlist made for every such train ride. Each song a perfect story to accompany the sights. Each playlist made to order for each and everyone. It makes one wonder, why don’t more people take the train in America?

Oh, what melody will lead my lover from his bed?
What melody will see him in my arms again?**

*From the song 'Such great heights', as sung by Iron and Wine.
**From the song 'Cliquot', by Beirut.

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