When I was in college, and even later, when newly married, this train ride filled me with expectation, with promise. Either the coming here to the valley of l’Allaine or leaving it. Now, this morning, riding the rails through a frosty valley along a steaming river under a crystalline sky of promise, I feel it again. Going off somewhere on an adventure, off to chase something. While hopefully having learned the lesson that the best adventures are also found close to home, hidden in the packaging of everyday life.
But sometimes, it is a good thing to see something familiar from an unexpected perspective. And that is why I like the train. The villages are all the same ones I drive through, but seen from a different angle they take on a new charm. The sweep of the white touched fields up to the neat rows of sleepy-eyed houses, smoke lining up out of chimneys, and the gray tall forests beyond. Gray now and looking like if I could brush my hand over the tops the trees would be soft, like the fuzz left on a dandelion blossom, or the soft gray fur of my rabbit.
In Courchavon there is the cemetery chapel, perched up on the hill, three stories high, unlike any other cemetery chapel I’ve ever seen, looking for all the world like a small child craning up on his tip-toes to insist, don’t forget about me! I want to draw it each time I pass. This is the closest I’ve gotten to that.
In a few weeks all the mole hills in the field will be plowed under, replaced instead by furrows as deep and dark as chocolate cake that always make me hungry when I see them. The docile forest will sprout springtime from the tips of its fingers and the soft gray give way to green, first shy then in-your-face, in a “I am springtime, hear me roar” kind of way.
In Porrentruy even the half-torn up railway barn looks beautiful in this light, and it makes me wonder why I don’t opt for early morning all the time. The people getting off the train and walking to their lives seem purposeful and beautiful too. Of course, the weather helps. The world, and everything here has mutually agreed to begin again. Not that we have much say in the matter, actually. Perhaps better said that God begins us again today and we are closest to His intentions when we go along with it with an expectant heart.
So I am expectant right now, for this day, for my life. Despite my last minute dready thing that I always do, I am joyfully expectant about connecting to my tribe of writers today in Geneva and trusting it will be worth the long haul and expense to get there.
The sun is now just peeking through a gap in the mountains (I’ve learned to call them) behind Cornol. It’s going to be a gorgeous day. The contrails of early morning jets reflect the light and glow like pond skimmers on water's surface. Funny to think of the people on those flights -- Flying from where to where? Not, obviously, to here, but travelling like me, but with a completely different agenda. I could almost feel sad for them because they won’t see the frosty Allaine in the morning light just before sunrise, but it’s silly I know. They’ll see something else, and maybe today their praise is in the grand, while mine will be in the small.