The long awaited sigh……..Train whistles and Tired eyes

by Anna Blanch on December 12, 2008

I hear a train whistle sometimes.

It is usually late at night, or in the early hours of the morning. In the last few months I have heard it more than I have ever thought possible. At first, and even until recently, it really annoyed me. It is haunting, out of reach. I am not even sure where the train tracks are in relation to where I live and I don’t understand why I never hear it at any other time. I have felt it mocking me, reminding me that I should be asleep (which is where I have wanted to be alot).

I am tired.
There, I said it.

In the last week I have had more than one person welcome me back to the land of the easy to get along with. It has been a tough few months and over the last few days as I worked on fitting the final piece of the puzzle into the picture that is the Fall it occurred to me that this was because my expectations were strikingly disconnected from the eventual reality.

I had looked forward to a few months of a slightly more flexible schedule – that didn’t happen. In fact, my expectations were so far from being in the ball park that for the first time in my academic life I was forced, out of necessity, to do more very early mornings and very late nights than I can count – that includes Law School. I mean, objectively it didn’t look like it would be that bad or that big a drain on my sanity, my patience, and – so it seems – my congeniality.

My poor friends and family! I think i spent a great deal of time over the last few months anxious about how I was going to find time to get it all done – The bottom line was that I wasn’t, and consequently, sleep became the necessary casulaty. Even so, last weekend I heard a great exposition of 1 Peter 4:1-12 and “casting you cares upon him” began to be crystallised in my mind and heart once again. I could not have gotten through this semester without the sacrifices I had to make or without the support of some loyal friends who have hung in there as bleary-eyed and not bushy-tailed as i was.

This morning when I heard the train, around midnight and then again around 4am, and then again at 7am, it occurred to me that maybe I was misreading the whistle (bear with me…). Maybe I was being a little harsh. Maybe in the softer light of post-semester craziness I could afford some magnanimity.

And then, I remembered a song I used to sing with my mother. Growing up my parents listened to “The Seekers” – an Australian quartet with some of the most beautiful harmonies. They had this song, almost like a lullaby called “Morningtown Ride”:

Train whistle blowin’,
Makes a sleepy noise;
Underneath their blankets
Go all the girls and boys.

Rockin’, rollin’, ridin’,
Out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown,
Many miles away.

Driver at the engine,
Fireman rings the bell,
Sandman swings the lantern
To show that all is well.

Maybe it is raining
Where our train will ride;
All the little travellers
Are warm and snug inside.

Rockin’, rollin’, ridin’,
Out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown, Many miles away.

Somewhere there is sunshine,
Somewhere there is day,
Somewhere there is Morningtown,
Many miles away.

Rockin’, rollin’, ridin’,
Out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown,
Many miles away.

Rockin’, rollin’, ridin’,
Out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown,
Many miles away.

All of sudden I thought about that train whistle in a new light. I still don’t know where the train runs near where I live. But, then again, I kind of like not knowing.

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