Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow
A couple of nights ago I gave my sister a call on the phone. She lives in a rural Nebraska town very similar to the one where we grew up, and in the middle of our conversation, I heard a ghostly sound through the receiver that raised the hair on the back of my neck. It was the long, lonesome call of a freight train's horn echoing through the primeval dark of a prairie night.
It's a sound that always brings me back to my childhood growing up in a railroad town, and nights lying awake in bed, hearing the trains' eerie moans. Those Nebraska nights were so dark and still that the freight train horns had a kind of piercing, almost threatening quality to them. It was strange as a child to think that in the middle of such otherworldly blackness people were driving massive locomotives on and on through the night. Nevertheless, I always find a strange comfort in their noise when I visit home, or when I am lucky enough to hear it through the telephone.