Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Best Laid Plans

I had quite a fabulous photo op the other night. The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made a brief stop in town. This festive train rolls right across the country, making stops, giving little concerts, accepting donations which they return to local charities. Because the tracks roll right across Main Street, right where the Santa parade ended last week, they shut down the street once more, and hundreds gathered for the event.


Of course, I was there with camera in tow, my fingers itching to press the release button. I left Cuppa's side and, more to the point, escaped the distracting press of the crowd to amble along the tracks in hopes of getting a clear shot of the train's approach in all its lighted splendour. And I found it, a solitary spot with no bodies and heads between me and the tracks ... until the word passed that the concert would take place on my side of the tracks.


That began a stampede, and, yet again, I found myself amidst a sea of picture-spoiling heads. After staring about in startled stupefaction for a few moments, I realized that I could just as easily cross over to the now empty other side, for I was more interested in pictures than the concert anyway. Besides, the train would not be a long one, and after getting my photos, I would be able to easily cross back over to rejoin the crowds and the concert.


I found the perfect spot and got myself all set. A light began approaching in the distance. Yes, the train was coming, beautifully lit too. Snap. Not! Nyet! No snappy, no piccy! The battery was totally exhausted from the previous week's tree decorating party and parade.


Fortunately, I have a spare battery. Unfortunately, it was at home. Not one snap did I snap although Cuppa got a few that I'm sure she will post.


The crowds prevented me from getting back to Cuppa, but I did get close enough to hear and see most of the concert. They roll down the sides of a railway car which becomes a stage. And although the performers do face one way most of the time, the stage is visible form both sides, and they do make an effort to turn around from time to time, so the wild stampede had not been necessary.


However, I'm not terribly miffed about the missed photos, for it makes a better story this way. Adversity, if that's not too strong a word for such a mild tribulation, often does that — sharpens our perceptions and give us unforgettable memory-links and, sometimes, even amusing anecdotes. Besides, it's not about photos but about the seasonal spirit, about the effort that people make as we near the solstice, the effort to shine light, the effort to make music in the dark and cold nights, the effort to open our hearts a little wider. And this makes us feel warm inside, even when it when it is frosty outside.




According to the website, their are two trains, one in Canada and one in in the USA — in some of the northern reaches — and there are different performers in different regions.


Inspired by the event and the website, I have borrowed some of their photos (legally, I believe) to make a few adjustments to the template. I hope that you like this version too.


 

14 comments:

Dale said...

Nice one, AC! Good story. Lovely template. This railroader loves it! I wish CN would do something like that but these days, it's ALL about profit and share prices.

kathy said...

Its pretty in here Anvilcloud! i like this template even better! the colors and the lights look sharp! I love the sound of trains...from a distance its a lonely call.

mreddie said...

Don't you just love the festivities of this wonderful Christmas season. I'm just like a kid - except for being old, worn-out and bald - OK, like a kid on the inside. :) ec

Matt said...

Very christmasy indeed!

I've seen something similar to the trains here in New Jersey, the firemen and other public service organizations host things like that. I love it.

Happy Holidays all. :)

madcapmum said...

Woo-woo! Very snazzy modifications! I like it.

defiant goddess said...

This blog is looking awesome!

Rainypete said...

I never made it to our stop in time. Sigh.....maybe next year.

Bonita said...

I understand the frustration of not getting the photo...happens all the time to me. But, as you say, it causes one to focus on other factors, which bring just as much satisfaction.

Debra said...

LOVE the way you've decorated the place!! :) Merry Christmas! ... Debra

Simply Coll said...

Would you believe that I have never heard of this train. I am sure that it must come to Winnipeg..being the railway center it is. off I go to check the newspaper!

Christi said...

I want one to come here! Not fair!

That Santa looks a little, ummm, underfed! That sounds like a really fun and cool thing to do. We're going Saturday to see luminaries throughout our community at a friend's house. That should be exciting. Oh, and back home we have a light festival every year where they put millions of lights at the county park in different shapes. That's pretty darn cool! No train, though...Boo!

Gina said...

That's a great picture of the train you've got up, as I am sure you have sensed by now!

It is true that when you are so intent on snapping the pictures that you lose "the moment" of everything that is going on. I find now that I have a digital camera that I am taking too many pictures and not living enough! :)

George Breed said...

Love your train motif! Flagstaff has over 100 trains a day coming right through town requiring us to stop our busyness and sit in our cars or on our bicycles or on our feet and enjoy the vastness rushing by. Some of the newbies complain and want it changed. It's part of our town's charm. Where are we going anyhow? Wonderful site, Mr. Cloud!

Linda said...

It's coming so close to my place tonight that I could walk there in 15 minutes. I'll try to get there and even take a picture for you if I can!