sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2019-02-07 09:54 am

Don't take flight—the shore is still in sight

"That's fine," I just told the Amtrak IT person from Ottawa who warned me, over the phone the conductor had handed me, that my wi-fi speed would not be lightning-fast shared with seventy other people, "I don't expect lightning on a train," and realized as I said it that it sounded like a proverb. I wonder what for.

So, yes. I'm on a train. Somewhere in Rhode Island, I think; it took until south of Providence to get the wi-fi working. Right now beyond the window is a kind of damp birch swamp, everything bracken-reddish and stapled with lichen and granite-grey humps of snow. It flashed to seawater and the rust-brush of salt marsh, little brown-headed ducks bobbing at the edge of a dry white shoreline. Now someone's backyard full of buoys. Now a water tower, bleached blue as a dry swimming pool. A little fold of stone walls on a hillside, like transplanted moor. More of the flat silver mirrors of sea, under a flat silver mist of sky. A cemetery of small headstones and the black bore of a cannon. A fire station. A catenary maintenance vehicle, sidetracked, its fiberglass-yellow paint crawled all over with rust. The prevailing colors are nineteenth-century daguerreotype and tobacco-stain. Now a trestle bridge running into a harbor, the sea pleating the color of Athene's eyes. We may have crossed into Connecticut. Yes, there's the whale's tail of New London. I like the look of this world. Could use more people. Park benches are post-apocalyptic with no one around.

I didn't sleep at all. I couldn't stop coughing and I couldn't take anything for it that would knock me out, since I had to leave the house before seven in the morning to be sure of catching my train; I lay in the dark and wheezed and eventually my alarm went off and I got up, the pre-dawn sky just fading mussel-blue. I seem to be in a good mood nonetheless. Maybe just in that sort of glassy, floating all-night way, but I'll take it over crushing depression.

Green cages of lobster pots. Fishing trawlers with nets and gear. Concrete warehouses eaten into puzzles of brick on the back faces. A river or an inlet, granite islands cracked with dry-leaved saplings. It's like the waste land out here and it's beautiful.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2019-02-07 03:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Aaaaahhh I love this so much. Stapled with lichen. Someone's backyard full of buoys. Flat silver mirror, flat silver mist. The sea pleating the color of Athene's eyes.

t's like the waste land out here and it's beautiful. --yeah. I **love** those wastelands.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2019-02-07 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
They can deal with it. Anyway, half of them are probably listening to music or podcasts.
dancing_crow: (Default)

[personal profile] dancing_crow 2019-02-08 12:05 pm (UTC)(link)
That is the most gorgeous way of describing that section of tracks, ever, thank you for all those words at this hour.
muccamukk: The underwater wreck of a sunken tall ship. (Misc: Wrecked)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2019-02-07 04:14 pm (UTC)(link)
thank you for the lovely, if sleep deprived, narration. I hope your trip goes well.
brithistorian: (Default)

[personal profile] brithistorian 2019-02-07 05:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I hope you're enjoying your train trip as much as I enjoyed reading about it. I've never been to that part of the country, but with your descriptions I was able to visualize it.
kenjari: (Govans)

[personal profile] kenjari 2019-02-07 07:00 pm (UTC)(link)
I love reading your descriptions of the SE CT coast. I grew up there and you always evoke it so clearly and beautifully.
ranalore: (sleepystan)

[personal profile] ranalore 2019-02-07 08:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I could just float in this description.

It's around 75 here in Jacksonville Beach, so I have the sliding door open to the balcony at my sister's condo while I babysit her boxer. The clouds look like scattered batting from a kitten-eviscerated quilt, and the blues of the sea and the sky, the greens of the palms, clover, closed-up flower bushes, are all fever-bright. The wind is just brisk enough to require a cardigan, in my case, though healthy people are out there in shorts and tee-shirts; it smells like brine and early roses. The birds are chirping relentlessly as a Top 40 station blasting out a parked car window, frequently drowned out by low-flying helicopters and rattling construction trucks.

Of course, the temperature is supposed to drop again this weekend, rise on Monday and Tuesday, then plummet on Wednesday. It's February in north Florida.
selkie: (Default)

[personal profile] selkie 2019-02-07 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
You're gonna be amazing. I am very possessive of that story, obviously, but anyone who wants to is allowed to fall in love with it, and they will.
thawrecka: (desired constellation)

[personal profile] thawrecka 2019-02-08 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
I would read a whole book of your travel descriptions.

I hope the trip goes well!
kaffyr: Mid-afternoon view from the spirit world train. (Train view)

[personal profile] kaffyr 2019-02-08 12:43 am (UTC)(link)
I saw the places as you described them, the dull but rich colors of autumn on or near the Atlantic. I took train rides like that in Atlantic Canada, regularly riding between a city in New Brunswick to Halifax in Nova Scotia, when I was young.

It was on those trips, looking out at vistas very similar to yours, that I realized landscapes that one thinks are uninteresting or colorless aren't. When you look deeper at the colors, and translate them - the browns, the duns. the almost reds and the greys and ivories - into heavy velvet, and voila! You have pre-Raphaelite paintings.

I couldn't have discovered that without train rides through the landscape of my childhood and early adulthood.

And everything you wrote brought that back to me. I don't get that immediacy from a lot of writers. You're good.

Many good wishes for the trip. (I realize that sounds really like an appendix after I'm going on about my own trips - it isn't. All good wishes, truly.)
ashlyme: (Default)

[personal profile] ashlyme 2019-02-08 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
This is gorgeous. Thank you for this postcard.