On a Train from Norwich to Cambridge

The day is grey and very, very still, self-contained in drowsy introspection.  But maybe it’s not sleeping at all but quietly meditating, plotting an event, contemplating crafting its next miracle.

The fog is blurring the silhouette of the trees, like pencil drawings rubbed with a ball of cotton wool.  The dark green tops blend in with the pale grey fog and, in the distance, the horizon merges with the never-ending East Anglian sky.

We pass a field with pigs.  Pale grey and black ones, ears twitching, eating something off the ground.  There’s a sow with large, dangling udders.  I think of what they are intended for – to nurture life, and feel slightly queasy at the thought of all these pigs being especially bred for human consumption.  Especially bred.  The phrase has something metallic and unnatural about it.

Further, there are sheep grazing in an enclosure.  Meek, dependent, accepting.  Created by and for man.

Two magpies, for joy, skipping by the waterlogged furrows left by large vehicle tyres, flicking their long tails.  Alert, clever, nervous.

A weeping willow trails her weary autumnal yellow mane in a stream.   A congregation of ducks loitering in the water, like perky gossips.

A stretch of brown land with patches of black soil and occasional clumps of bright green grass.  A row of naked trees, their trunks all inclined in the same direction by recurring winds.

A peregrine falcon flapping its strong wings, whizzing in perfect parallel with the horizon.

A conference of rooks.  Glossy, jet-black splodges on a vibrant green canvas.

The train pulls into a station.  On my right, up on a hill, the imposing stone towers of Ely Cathedral.  I gasp in awe at its imposing beauty.  Yet something in my heart tightens.  There is something unforgiving about it.  Something at odds with the impartially accepting stillness of the day.

Scribe Doll

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16 Responses to On a Train from Norwich to Cambridge

  1. A beautiful description of a part of England I have never visited. Sue

  2. …the ‘stuff of winter dreams’, metaphors and mirrors frame our inner landscapes:-)

  3. Lovely pictures and poignant contrasts, which i think you mean to remind us of who we really are, instead of the masters of creation we have traditionally thought of ourselves as. Nice piece of writing!

  4. Lovely imagery.It’s gray and still in my part of the world, too!

  5. This is so lovely and vivid—even beneath that gray sky. That is an aspect of train travel that I adore, watching scenes pass by…. Thank you for this.

  6. Sue Cumisky says:

    A word picture capturing mood, season and life. Beautifully written. It will stay with me.

  7. evanatiello says:

    Well, if that’s not the beginning of a longer story, I don’t know what is! Keep it going, please… somethings gonna happen on that hill, I just know it. I know this kind of day you are describing. I love them too. It seems to me that heaven is hovering closer to the ground.

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