The Slow Train to Now Here

Had a broken sleep but I am sure I must have managed to get at least 30 winks. There were really only two positions that were somewhat comfortable, but both of those still contorted me into a pretzel.  I think Michael – who is almost a foot taller than me – was worse off but he seems to be able to sleep anywhere, anytime. We snugged in, tip to toe, and tried to doze off. The only thing that saved me was that there were no major snorers in my midst. Around Kamloops, I got up for a bit of a stroll. I didn’t see much but snow and shadows of figures hovering near the very small train station. It was around 4am and I was wondering what the heck all these people were doing awake. I could only imagine for a smoke break would get anyone out in this cold, at this time, but then I remembered that some people have been on this train for 4 days. They must be going a little stir crazy by now and jumping at the chance to take a walk outside.

I finally decided to quit trying to sleep when a very loud man two rows back began telling the lady next to him everything there was to know about everything. One by one, the entire car popped up and went about their morning business. I guess he was the designated wake up call or something because as soon as everyone had woken, he shut up and went for breakfast. I guess some people don’t realize how disruptive talking on the phone when they are on public transportation. As there are smoking rooms, I think there should be cell phone rooms as well.

We are about three or four hours away from Vancouver now and the snow is coming down like crazy. Big puffy flakes the size of small cotton balls take their time reaching the ground. Sometimes they seem to even float up before making their final descent. We are in a very very isolated part of BC where there are very few roads and just a steep valley with a fast moving river in between. On both sides of the valley are train tracks that follow the river for miles and miles. The hardy pine tree branches are heavy with accumulating snowfall. The entire landscape is blanketed with a thick marshmallow like insulation. Nothing is moving, except the snow flakes and the ice cold river. And us, of course. All the trees, rocks, mountains are frozen in time. The whole panorama is like an Ansell Adams photograph. Every now and then we are treated to a gushing waterfall which seems to defy all odds in these temperatures. Or we find icicle spikes at least 10 feet long creating something of a crystal cave or shall I say, ice jail. We have gone through at least 10 tunnels now and I always think about the amazing people who had to make them in this treacherous environment. We are passing through a tunnel right now and its lasted more than a minute already. I still don’t see the light at the end. What a job that must have been!

The wind has picked up and the snow is flying faster. The blizzard has strengthened and the clouds have sunk lower creating a fog like eeriness over the mountainside. I can actually hear the tiny ice flakes smashing against the window. Wait a second…the snow has turned to rain! Ice rain! We have been crawling along at no more than 10 miles an hour. I can sense the other passengers getting impatient but they are giving us free coffee and snacks now. That should calm the masses for a little while at least. I, for one, am enjoying this extended train trip. I love that we are going slow, and enjoying the nature that is so untouched, so rare and pure.



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