Night Train of Thought

Last night, Ted and I came home after running errands, and I went outside to walk the dogs. It was snowing a little, not too cold, and while we were out there, a train whistle called out in the distance.

Strange, how the smallest things and the most unlikely are often the ones that crack open the heart.

The train whistle is such a unique chord, some combination of emotions between minor, augmented and diminished. Often, I don’t register what kind of chord it is because I’m caught by surprise by the rush of bittersweetness that it evokes in me.

It calls up the idea of homecoming and running away, leaving behind what you know for the unknown or returning from the unknown to the familiar.

Always, there’s a sense of wide spaces and motion. I can’t hear a train whistle and not be drawn out of myself and into myself simultaneously.

Last night was no exception. I only got to hear the chord once, drifting like French horns over the great hall of the valley and the woods that surround our house and ringing off the low mountains.

It made me think about how we all spend our lives moving in and out of other people’s lives. Sometimes, we touch just for an instant, and sometimes, we’re inextricably linked for years.

We are alone within ourselves, yet we are part of the grand human tapestry. Our actions, whether we realize it or not, do have an effect on those around us, even if it’s only to bring up things in their own hearts that need to be examined.

We never stay the same, and just when we think we’ve got everything sorted out, the universe will often remind us that there are many layers to our being, and we can always go deeper, grow further.

Last night, standing in the snow with the dogs, listening to the train whistle’s notes fade away, I was reminded of just how fleeting all these things are. I wanted to hear the music again, but I didn’t. I had to savor what I’d been given, walk back into the warm house, and continue my own heart’s journey.

Explore posts in the same categories: Dogs, Family and Friends, metaphysics, music, spirituality

6 Comments on “Night Train of Thought”

  1. Yumi Says:

    You’re definitly.. desperately romantic!!

  2. halfnotes Says:

    Dear Yumi,

    Oh, yes, although I tend to guard that part of myself pretty fiercely! Actually, it’s almost like my heart’s split neatly between being very romantic and very pragmatic. Romantic is fine, as long as it’s rooted in reality.

  3. annui Says:

    visited a railway yard last night. was there for a film shoot. lots of trains passed through the day. every time i’d suddenly turn to look, and then get drawn back to the din of the proceedings. by the time we wrapped it was dusk. and we got on to a watchtower to see the night descend before dragging our tired bodies back home. in that silence all we heard were trains. crisscrossing. coming in and going out. blowing their horns. i stood there for a long time..just listening, away from the group. feeling away and alone and together all at once. and then today morning i accidently read your post..

  4. astralwicks Says:

    and me too annui :) you moved me half-notes with the gentle poetry of your sentences

  5. halfnotes Says:


    Beautiful writing! Thanks for visiting.

  6. halfnotes Says:


    Very kind, and thanks also for visiting. It’s always amazing to me, how you can find poetry in unexpected places. You just have to pay attention first to what’s around you, then be patient and let it unfold, both as experience and as written or spoken word. Not every beautiful experience makes it into art, and not all art comes from the wellspring of “significant” experience. It’s such a mysterious thing …

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