Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry Christmas from a Train

As I left my building yesterday to go home, after a long day that involved a trek across campus, a fight with the online travel system, and a crying student, I was frustrated to hear the approach of a train. My car was parked on the other side of the train tracks, and using the underpass took me well out of my way on a very frosty evening. I sighed, and began to trudge across the parking lot.

The despondent echo of the train's bell, set to a monotonous minor key, preceded it, and soon the behemoth engines were rolling overhead. The squeal and grind of metal on cold metal repeated with aggravating frequency as my feet found the sidewalk that snakes under the tracks.

For some reason I looked up, and I found myself smiling through my annoyance and, even beginning to laugh at what I saw.

Some impish sprite, perhaps the engineer, or a trainyard employee, or some local youth out for jolly kicks, had draped a bedraggled length of Christmas lights across one of the locomotives, and hung one of those cheap light-up snowflakes one can find at the drugstore from the window. It was the merriest incongruity I've ever seen--the hackneyed decor finding new life on a dirty train engine.

Sometimes the most cheerful things can be found in the oddest of places.

What surprises have found you lately?

1 comment:

Maybelle Leung said...

This sounds so awesome.
Well a "surprising" event that I do recall was one clear winter night. I don't know my constellations well, but I looked up and definitely saw Orion - the belt, arrow, all of him. It felt amazing and suddenly the astronomy books I'd read had relevance and made SENSE. xD