train ride

snow field, england

The train stations are insane, packed, seething with confused travelers.  Not just because of the season but because weather and bad luck have severely disrupted travel all over the world  The Eurostar has been stuck for days.  Planes into and out of Europe have been cancelled one after the other.  The trains that take Londoners and other travelers out of the city are delayed, delayed some more, and then finally cancelled.  Paddington station is crowded but not too bad.  Kings Cross, though. is horrible.  It is freezing cold (English train stations are open-air) and hundreds and hundreds of people cluster anxiously in front of a giant electronic board, awaiting news of their trains.  As the board updates, clusters of people either heft their bags and head for the platform, or slump their shoulders and looked worried as yet another cancellation goes up.

I’m exhausted in the station.  So far I’ve lugged luggage (hmmm…) through two airports, two train stations, and a taxi ride over a full 24 hours with no sleep.  I’m so tired I’m not sure I can stand up much longer, and then suddenly I’m not.  Without being really sure how I got there, I find myself sitting on the ground, leaning against my bag, laptop and camera bag in my lap.  Someone asks if I’m ok; I nod yes and stand up again, shaky but upright.  My train updates and I’m lucky—Platform 1.   My trip shouldn’t have any surprises.

The trains head out of a bitter and cold London into snowy countryside.  Everything is covered with frost.  The trees look like they’ve been sprayed with silver.   The fields are flat and white, crossed with hedgerows and the occasional line of trees. or  a road.  The news program on the train talks of record cold in Europe, cancelled flights, stranded passengers, thousands of snow plows being deployed.  It looks very cold outside.  The train rocks, I’m drowsy, I’d like to sleep, my head lolls forward, and I jerk awake as some noise or movement startles me.  My mind feels stopped.  I just realized I’m riding backwards on the train.

The ride is a little over two hours long; I read a bit, play on the computer (free wi-fi again), and take some photographs out the window.  The train arrives at last and someone kind helps me get my luggage off the train.   I am collected and we drive home through snowy fields, dotted white-on-white with sheep.  The sun is setting and the snow takes on a pink tinge.  In town, they have wrapped the trees in the commons with lights.   All the buildings are stone and brick and they look old and solid and warm.

It is beautiful here.

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~ by gun street girl on December 23, 2009.

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