Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Grey Mountain Train

My eyes move from my screen and crease up at the rectangular frame of light that the sun has projected on the window in front of me. The flickering rays test my aching eyes and make me raise a protective hand to my forehead. A burst of cold air from the door reminds me of an approaching headache, the inside my head now starts congesting and fills my skull with the usual heavy concrete, its rough dry surface scraping against the inside of my cranium, my vessels pulsating, being blocked of any exit from the brain. I already feel what I imagine to be a green yucky substance assembling inside my upper nose, pressuring my blood vessels and causing the face muscles to stretch out, widening the mouth and slitting the eyes. Could it be the glare of the computer, some fresh air perhaps might help?

I stand gazing at the path beginning at my feet and swerving out and around the undulations, disappearing amongst the waves of grass, the surface puckered with a thousand speckled dots. I walk along and as I do so my shoes tap on the tough tar granules steam flattened to a smooth mush carefully cut like dark grey marzipan, loosing its fine edge here and there amongst the thousands of sprouting grass blades which carpet the surrounding hills in a duotone of viridian and lime.

The way seems all clear but then what do I find along this path but ‘muddy’, ‘muddy’, and ‘muddy’ like I really want to bump into them again, how irritating! I am swerving off to the left to avoid them, they mustn’t come in the opposite direction; this path was only made for me! I think of going off the path but no, I keep on going as they have now meandered off to the left for some reason, to the dim light over on the other side of the hill, their silluetes disappearing over the curves.

I am now travelling in open country. I cantor to the midway point but then two cars suddenly pull up in the middle distance, big black saloons with their hoods and bonnets shining brightly in the sun, wheels bumping on the uneven grass, turning to swerve down towards the lake, masked by a stream of pettles and dots dusting the air behind. Entering a lake they now are like beavers with their silky smooth skin making the sparkle of waves in the transparent water, I spot fish darting away below. I shrug this image from my mind and skip on. Mirage, mirage, a mirage, I tell myself.

The grey mass of gravel heaped in the middle distance turns out to be a mountain after closer inspection. I am looking forward to sampling the cool air from the arched tunnel burrowed into its side. I imagine a train could run out of it and knock me over, its chug and rattle thundering out from the core. Wheels would spin, their controlling arms moving in short spasms, causing a spurt of red and yellow sparks that dance along the rusted track. The chimney snorts dirty pixels that develop into smoke rings in the air. Short puffs from the engine spray droplets of oil on the grass, powering the heavy cargo into a backwards motion. In this way the train curiously seemed to be being restricted by the mountain, a mysterious green glow now tinting its grainy (model railway) surface.

I imagine the mountain shooting out and retracting its mechanical tongue, whipping the ground, with the resulting dust hitting me with a force that nearly knocks me over, blasting my front side with a layer grey toned granules. I imagine myself flummoxed like a cartoon character waiting for the axe to fall down and split my body in two.

Recovering almost instantly I rush through the long grass towards the tracks that must now be hot from so much steam. I observe streams of oil and guck in orange streaks along its surface, and planks of wood splintered where nailed into. The bars stamp into the long grass at regular intervals, snaking over the shallow hill gradients, eventually dissolving into the split colours of navy blue and grainy yellow that make up the horizon. Blinking, my eyes strain to cut through the floating animation of dust still left from the actions of the train and I peer at the compressed jpg of oddly aligned colours in the distance; the upper horizon is a central gradient of lemon yellow with the occasional bright white dots flickering together, aligning against sea green and then bleeding heavily downwards on the cold blue. There then comes a definite line of earth wire brown and the viridian green grass flowing in perspective, textured with dirty washes of brush in broad zigzagging strokes, blending finally in a crumpled mass at the rich stalks near my feet and then onwards, jumping out in an animated dance in between the regular stamps of the railway tracking.

I stumble, hampered by the long grass, slashing at it with my legs, making deep troughs that parallel the lines of track running straight beside me. I glance at the ladybirds and butterflies as they dart from the tops of tall strands of grass, like dinky plastic toys their bright surfaces shine and glitter, clicking and whizzing through the air about me as I plunge on, sweating diamonds in the mid-day heat.

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