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.

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