Friday, June 19, 2015

Morningstar Road moments

August 2002
CPR's dispatcher phone box stood trackside
for years
Contents conveying messages up and down 
for years

Now it is silent 
eerily empty
unhinged unforgotten
world-weary wooden

Weathered worn 
here, it still stands - a shell
where, what it once was - vital
there, if needed - when needed

In cinders and smoke 
and each new year, if only just.
Surrounded by now-new sumac, 
poplars winking in the day's late light

we, lucky enough to spend time here
qui vive
alert to its presence
 qui vive 

 we, standing together, transcribing trains
 roaring past
 it still stands trackside
for years
June 2015
February 2017

February 2017 with door


Steve Boyko said...

A great ode to the humble dispatcher's call box.

Eric said...

And, metaphorically, to this Father's Day weekend.
Being at Morningstar Road last Saturday brought back some memories. Though I've posted few photos of these family railfan trips (you know, watch for an upcoming post...) it is a terrific spot with CN and CP so close by.
And the memories that linger.

Thanks for your kind comment, Steve.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

While not a threat to Carl Sandburg, interesting attempt!

Eric said...

Thanks, Robert!
The trains there sure don't "Come on little cat feet". They come with:

Horns ablaze, bell ringing through the pastoral calm
Alerting us,
Drowning our thoughts,
Their omnipresence all-encompassing
then quiet.

Oops, I'm doing it again, aren't I?

Michael said...

I can't even begin to count the number of these relics I have stumbled across in Ottawa. Your words really capture the beauty of these old vestiges, at least to a rail fan like me.

Eric said...

Thanks, Michael. Definitely signs of earlier times. Technology had rendered them a thing of the past, but to our discerning eyes they are still worthwhile and meaningful!

Robert Gibson said...

I spent many hours at this crossing when I was a teenager, after school each day and on weekends/holidays. I grew up just down the road and would ride my bike there, watching everything from the MLW's to the Turbo Train - and waving at Mr. Alyea on his farm tractor (the original owner of the apple orchards). One thing I regret though is not taking pictures! Bob G. (Oshawa, Ont)

Eric said...

Thanks for your timely comment, Bob. I'll add more in an upcoming post, but do you remember a quarry up the road? A resident told us there used to be one, which necessitated full crossing protection for the dump trucks and other construction equipment using the road crossing. I noticed on this visit that the orchards north of the tracks, east of the crossing were gone. Once in a while, in season, we would quality-control the apples. Tasty trainwatching treats!

Robert Gibson said...

Yes, the quarry was extremely busy in the 1970's. I spent a lot of time riding my bike around the pit - and racing back down to the crossing whenever I heard a horn! I always remember full lights and gates but interestingly with the volume of gravel trucks of the era I don't ever recall a collision at this crossing. Because of the heavy use, the road was constantly sprayed with "Domtar" to control the dust (I believe it was a by-product provided by the former Domtar creosote plant in Trenton, located on the east side of the river). Quite the gooey mess on a really hot day but in the cooler weather it was almost like pavement (not much concern for the environment back then!). North of the tracks was originally apple orchard as well but when the property was sold the new owner (who coincidentally worked for CN out of Belleville yard) slowly started taking them down. I was told many years ago by a neighbor that he had planned on rezoning the land for a subdivision but was never approved, however I can't confirm that. A lot of memories indeed! Bob G.