Monday, June 13, 2016

My carriage of dreams...

From steam trains to the Internet.

When I was a small boy, I travelled across Africa on a steam train, enclosed in a compartment of glowing wood and leather surfaces like an antique writing desk. 
I would listen to the scribble of the Garratt locomotive out front penning its way along the lines like a scratchy nib and I would dream my dreams.


Each school term, the train took me, along with my suitcase stuffed with the fading scents of home, to a bush boarding school far away in Central Africa.

A peek out of the open window punctuated my dreams with specks of soot and a sulfur stink reminded me that dreams were linked to an uncontrollable beast.

I especially remember nights on the train.

The feeling of the bedding on the bunks, blankets and sheets drawn as tightly as ironing board covers, and the sheets crackling with starch when I squeezed down between them.

In the darkness, I loved to dream avidly within the motherly, rocking embrace of the train and I would grudge the approach of sleep, the way a feasting lion glares at hyenas when they circle to steal its prize.

Now I live in the age of the Internet and my written dreams can span the entire world in a single click like the sound made by the train wheel going over a fish-plated joint in the rail so long ago.

Astonishingly, I have lived to span the ages of steam trains and the Internet.

Yet I still journey in a carriage of dreams.