At first light, the wild cries of tundra swans pour down through the clouds. Then silence. The rumbling labor of an east-bound freight.
Out of the dense fog, the too-fast-to-count taps of a woodpecker drumming for the music of it. He pauses to let a train whistle blow.
The sound of the wind up on the ridge mingles with the sound of trains in the valley until it’s almost impossible to tell them apart.
A flat-gray sky. Train whistles and quarry noise travel up the hollow, accompanying two overlapped umbrellas, one black, one white.
The blear isn’t just in my eyes; the distance dissolves into a thin mist which the weak sun can’t burn off. A train’s dispassionate wail.
In one and the same moment, the howl of an accelerating speedbike, a train whistle, and the quiet anxious calling of a nuthatch to its mate.
The sun glimmers through thin clouds, backlighting the green lilac and the sideways-blowing snow. The wail of a freight train on the wind.
An agitated Carolina wren progresses from between-station radio static noises to musical chirps, then silence. A freight train wails.
We don’t hear much from the highway these days. What I hear: Canada geese off to the north, a train whistle, two kinds of crickets.
9:40. The strange, pipe organ-like moan of a steam locomotive blowing the Plummer’s Hollow crossing raises the hair on the back of my neck.
Sound is out of the east: a ululating quarry truck, a train whistle that won’t shut up. Clouds thin just where the sun is—a sudden glow.
The sun glints off periwinkle leaves in the yard where snow has just melted. All sounds come from a great distance: crow, woodpecker, train.
Blue sky. The snow has retreated to the northwest-facing hillside under the shelter of the trees. A train’s whistle made wavery by the wind.
Cold rain drips in the pre-dawn darkness. The wail of a locomotive sounds frighteningly close and full of an obscure, mechanical longing.
A dark dawn. As light grows, the rain falls harder, thundering on the porch roof, drowning out all other sounds but a locomotive’s wail.
The walk is shiny with recent rain, and the west wind is damp and full of sounds from the valley: tires humming, the heavy thrum of a train.