Our house is located several blocks from a set of railroad tracks, and so it’s not uncommon to be lulled to sleep by the forlorn, elegiac whistles of locomotives as they make their way past our neighborhood. In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to the trains that I often don’t even notice them anymore, but only register them on a subconscious whistle.
That was the case this morning, until I noticed that this particular train whistle wasn’t ending, but just kept going on and on. It was both shrill and piercing as well as calm and soothing, in the way that only far-off train whistles can really be, I suppose. As I lay there in bed at seven or so in the morning, still very much in a groggy state of mind, the sound became rather otherworldly.
Eventually, other train whistles called out as well, short little blasts that — to my still sleepy ears, at least — seemed to harmonize perfectly with the primary drone. The resulting cacophonous-yet-haunting sound was not at all dissimilar to something I might expect to hear on any of my Labradford CDs, or perhaps on a Godspeed You Black Emperor! song right before some post-apocalyptic sturm und drang. (The dispensational part of me had a brief moment of panic, akin to those times when I thought that I’d been left behind, that this seemingly-unending clarion might actually be the Judgment Day trumpet.)
And then, as I lay there in bed, slowly blinking the sleep away, the drone just slowly faded as the trains passed on by.