Welcomed to more rural lands,
By the acrid scent of a distant fire,
An afternoon of time travel,
Back into history,
Off the asphalt path,
Deeper into the aging forest,
Near to the heart of the mountain.
The conductor calls all to attention,
With the shrill, singing tune of the train whistle blown,
And the warning clang of the bell,
Startled children clap their hands over their ears,
And respond with shrill cries of their own.
Moving slowly along the track
Swaying to the clickity clack
Past drying ponds and river beds,
Beaver dams and old homesteads,
A parent relates beaver tales,
Kid’s revel in the rhythm of the rails,
They conduct an invisible symphony,
Then the train slows for all to see,
Mount Rainier looms large before us,
Balding. Snowy white has
Given way to granite gray,
Pictures are snapped in rapid fire,
Comments on the mount’s attire
Or lack thereof.
We pick up the pace to the old logging camp,
Through lush forest dark and damp,
Sunlight filters through stately trees,
On shimmering waves
Of clean, cool air,
Hiding ghosts living in there,
Exposing verdant ferns.
Locomotives and cranes are quiet and tall,
The logging camp buildings are neat and small,
It wasn’t calm like this at all,
100 years ago.
Sound of the warning whistle calls us back,
The clanging bell calls out the “all-aboard,”
Squeaking, thumping, skins of metal scrape,
Creating friction with the swaying of the cars,
Children of good conduct sleep,
On the shoulders of their parents,
Too tired to utter as much as a peep,
As the unique tune of the train whistle wails out its warning,
When we cross the asphalt highway,
And the steam of 1,000 pressure cookers
Carries us back to present day.
Sherry Bibb, 8/22/15