Sunday, July 11, 2010


My grandmother lived in a two storey log house at the edge of a great forest. Built on a hill, it overlooked the weathered barn, a herd of goats, and an achingly cold creek. Huge clumps of rhubarb and drifts of Queen Anne's lace grew at the foot of giant moss strung cedars.
Her yard was landscaped with native plants, mountain ash, tiger lily, and a clump of creamy white birch. The steps were wide and solidly hewn. When we pushed open the wooden screen door, I always ran to a closet in the center of the house. Behind a curtained doorway, was an orange crate filled with toys, and my favorite toy of all was a wonderful, wooden train.
Amongst the old family photos, is a picture of my toddler self, cheeks flushed with the passion of play, bending over that train, with my cousin, intent at his role as engineer.
A year or two ago, I happened upon a wooden train for five dollars at a thrift store. When I took it from the box at home and set it up, I was momentarily overcome with the strongest, sweetest sort of yearning. It seemed that the tracks and little Brio train were identical to the train of my long ago childhood. My grandmother, my cousin, my little self, where had they gone?
My grandson gasped when I set up the train and immediately lay on the floor and took on the important job of engineer. Over the hill and under the bridge and round and round he went. His little face was flushed with the passion of play. A wooden train at grandmas house, and thus I was comforted.

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