I Believe in Trains.

Jennifer - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Entered on September 23, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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When the clock bell in Wilson Hall rings seven monotonous chimes, there is a sudden, slow, and deep rumbling that echoes carefully across the sleepy campus. The rumbling gradually grows and is transformed into a sound that is physical. It is a charging noise that shudders up and down my dorm walls. It begins to sing, loud and clear. In response, the entirety of the student population awakes into a grumbling state. But when I hear that collaboration of quaking sound and piercing screams, it fills my heart because I can feel home.

I believe in trains. The infinite tracks, the loud rumbling of the locomotive engine, and the scream of the whistle as it passes my dorm – I believe in trains.

I find such a deep sense of comfort having my dorm hall next to the train tracks. For the most part, I interpret the origin of this comfort directly in relation to the fact that my home has sat next to railroad tracks ever since I can remember. I spent many sleepless night sprawled out across my mattress, waiting for the hours to pass until the sun would arise. The train was my hope, I would hear its low rumbling pass my house, and I knew that the sun would be up soon.

When I was younger, I had many adventures balancing on the train tracks or even just marveling the presence of the giant locomotive machine. Every Sunday, my siblings and I would race down the stairs of my grandparent’s house into their basement and gaze over my grandfather’s collection of miniature trains. The tiny people mowing their miniature lawns and living in their petite locomotive town- I would daydream about their lives. My grandpa would lay out the tracks, looping around the perfectly set town, and then let one of the three grandchildren press the green “GO” button. I blew my toy locomotive whistle that I received at Christmas a year or two before, and watched the train flawlessly trace around the tracks. I remember couple years later, my younger brother received a set of wooden train tracks for his birthday. My sister and I would teach our little brother how to place each track in its correct position, show him how to blow the whistle and drag the train to the different stops. We would imagine different stories about the lives of the tiny toy people and their trains that controlled their miniature town.

Without even realizing it, trains have become a huge part of who I am, and what I will become. When I roll out of bed in the mornings to the sound of the ridiculously loud whistle or the rattling of the train cars, a smile is brought to my face because I know that the sun is near and that I am home. I believe in trains because they have become part of who I am today.