A Train Whistle and Longing

“The restlessness and the longing, like the longing that is in the whistle of a faraway train; except that the longing isn’t really in the whistle—it is in you.”

~Meindert DeJong~  


I could hardly stand to be at work this past Friday. I was restless. It was a beautiful day – highs in the 70’s, low humidity, blue skies, sun.

“Why am I here and not outside, on my bike?”

On this beauty, I desperately longed for a ride.

The past three to four weeks have not been kind to bike riding in one way or another. Life’s responsibilities, illness and the weather have been a deterrent. There hasn’t been an opportunity to ride to work, unless one is willing to bundle up to a 49F (9.44C) morning or ride despite having a cold.

On Friday, I knew the opportunity for a bike ride this week would also be low as the forecast of a heat wave (highs in the upper 80’s, low 90’s and humid) and storms was looming.

I finally went in by my boss and asked to take an hour of personal time. That would get me out of there at 2:30 p.m., home at 2:45, and out to the Wiouwash Trail no later than 3:30. Plenty of time to get in a casual ride before supper time. It was better than nothing.

I didn’t take many trail photos during the ride, but I always stop to take photos from the bridge – the one that requires maneuvering around goose and duck droppings. It’s peaceful on this bridge, except when the train comes through.

Friday afternoon, two trains came through. Both conductors announced their presence. The first one was the longest, the second about five cars and an engine. Even though they disturbed the peace, I guess I didn’t mind the interruption.

And, this day, I noticed an inscription on a dedication bench that I’ve ridden past many times without stopping.

I don’t know how I missed this. My blogging buddy and train/crane aficionado, Dan Antion at No Facilities, will probably withdraw bonus points from my account for this inattentiveness.


I cannot help this longing I have

To ride the orange beast on a path

A train is second thought

Until I am caught

Between my car and that lovely path

The train cars roll quickly past

As the whistle the conductor does blast

I wait with patience

And anticipation

That this day and ride will forever last


This post has been brought to you by an orange bicycle, a train and a limerick. It has also been brought to you by Linda G. Hill’s “One-Liner Wednesday.” All you need to play along every Wednesday is an awesome one-liner and follow a few rules. Birds on a wire are not required, but make sure you link back today’s post to HERE so the rest of us #1linerweds peeps can read it.

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23 responses to A Train Whistle and Longing

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Aw, I’ll give you the bonus points for acknowledging the Train Watchers. There’s something special about a train whistle. We don’t hear the trains as they come through town, but we hear the whistles and it always makes me feel good. That bench is a nice honor, and it’s nice of you to pass it along.

    I’m glad you took the hour and made the effort to get out there. That seems like a great way to welcome the weekend. I hope you get good biking weather, soon.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks for giving bonus points, Dan! I still can’t believe that I passed by that bench many times and didn’t notice the Train Watchers. Guess my mind and gaze has been elsewhere.

      Biking weather is going to be “iffy” through Sunday. It’s going to be hot with chance of storms almost every day. I could ride my bike to work tomorrow, but I’ll be biking home in 87 degrees. I’m debating…

      • Dan Antion says:

        I’ve driven/ridden by things for years without noticing them. No way I could penalize you for that. 87 is a bit tough for a ride home, but at least you’re not arriving to work soaking 🙂

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Two years ago, my neighbor and I rode 34 miles on a day when the high reached 92, on a trail that didn’t provide much shade. I suppose if I survived that, I can survive the 5 miles home…

      • Dan Antion says:

        When Faith was in 10th grade, we did the New York Five Borough Bike Tour. It’s in early May, but it hit 95. I survived, but I wouldn’t want to do it again 🙂

  2. Ally Bean says:

    I like hearing the train whistles in the middle of the night, but rarely get to see one. Your bike ride sounds like it was just what you needed.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Bike rides feed my soul, Ally. It’s one of my life pleasures, so I was glad to get on the trail last Friday.

      • Ally Bean says:

        I feel the same way about blogging! Feeds my soul, and keeps me mentally active. Enjoy your rides.

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    The child in me still gets a thrill when I see a train. That thrill is doubled when it is accompanied by a whistle 🙂

    I hope you get many more days out on your bike. For us Northerners with our short summers, each occasion is a reason to celebrate.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I have many opportunities to see and hear trains in my community. There are miles of tracks and many crossings – due to the industries here. But there is something different about hearing a train and whistle out in the middle of nowhere. It’s like hearing a distant fog horn by the water.

      I swear, Joanne, I’m going to have to learn to ride in cold, excessive heat and rain if I’m going to enjoy spring, summer and fall on a bike in Wisconsin.

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        I know what you mean about being out far on a country road and seeing / hearing a train go by. There is a romanticism about it.

        I guess because of my years of racing, it was normal to ride in all kinds of conditions. I’m not a fan of high heat and humidity … it just sucks the energy out of you and those are the worst rides.

  4. joey says:

    I love when people have that experience of SEEING something they’ve seen a thousand times. I think it’s timing, synchronicity, fate, divine intervention — whatever floats your goat.
    It’s a lovely bench, with such a beautiful dedication, it makes me smile.
    I love the trains, don’t even mind waiting for them. I’m not Dan’s level of train fan, but I missed them in Georgia. The sound of the trains is comforting to me.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I’m glad I finally noticed the bench. My situational awareness…or perhaps just plain awareness…isn’t always on point. I’ve been trying to take better note of my surroundings so I don’t miss cool things like the bench.

      You can come visit me any time you are longing for the sound of a train. They are pretty regular around here.

  5. So happy you got out in the sunshine on the orange machine even if just for a little while.

    Not happy that I now have the Seekers song stuck in my head. “Train whistle blowin’….” Argh!

  6. dweezer19 says:

    The low rumble and rustle of trains on the tracks is one of the sounds that will lull me to sleep. I find such comfort in it. Well done Mary! 👏🏻

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Cheryl. In the summer, I can hear a distant train in the evening. I’m not sure of its location, but it does have a comforting sound.

  7. marianallen says:

    Thank you for the Meindert DeJong quote — I love him so!! I didn’t know anybody else read him! When I was a girl, I love riding my bike. I wasn’t so crazy about falling off it, but staying on and going was as close to personally flying as I’ll ever get, outside of my dreams. I’m glad you got your ride, and especially glad you got to hear the train whistles.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Truth be told, Marian, I have not read the works of Mr. DeJong. I see he was a writer of childrens’ books, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across his books. I found that quote by accident and thought it fit perfectly into my post.

      Flying is a wonderful descriptor of riding a bike. I will think of that next time I’m on it. 🙂

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