The train is on time, and you appreciate this even as you understand the irony of it. Soon you will be there again. Home.
A bridge, the blue hills, a forest, open fields beneath the deep sky, smell of salt sea air – all talismans of home, of youth, of memory itself. How many times have you ridden these same rails, in all kinds of emotional weather?
Going away to the military academy, coming home for the holidays, going to the city for university, riding home with friends for your wedding, leaving with your new bride for the honeymoon, coming home a few years later dejected and alone, or when setting out again to live overseas, and finding a new life for yourself, coming close to marrying again, deciding against it, taking another train to the Far East while you decided about matters of faith, falling ill in a desert country, becoming so sick you could not be moved, the final hours of fever and longing for home, and now the last return trip, over the inward sea of things familiar, the green fields guiding the train so gently, and then so slowly as the train enters the station, where those who will survive you wait to carry your casket to the cemetery where, as a youth, you once wrote poems about everything yet to come.
Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His photographs can be seen in his gallery -http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/