Level Crossing

Québec, 2003

Some days, childhood is far away, a hazy world distanced by time and experience. Then, like today, a chance combination of sensory signals aligns to clear away the mists and a treasured moment rushes up through the tunnel of the past to envelope me. It happens in a second.

This morning on my walk with the dogs, a train horn sounded, carrying clearly on the crisp fall air. The plaintive, comforting sound clarioning across the chill morning evoked an autumn day in a village miles away, a young schoolgirl trudging across the field by the playground and over the train tracks to Buchannan Public School, all as clearly as though I had sped back in time. I felt such longing to recapture the moment squandered so innocently, so unconsciously all those years ago, and clasp it to me, holding with it all the precious memories of family and home.

As the train withdrew into the distance I was left with an echo of a time when my life unfolded in a safe cocoon, and a reminder that the silk has been rent open, and I may never return. It was both painful, and poignant.

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