The railcam, web cam placed at the rail station in Ashland, VA. is on. People walk by. Some know there is a camera there. They will look up and wave. Others go about doing whatever it is that they do. The trains are supposed to be the stars. But the minor players in the show get their moments.
Earlier, a middle-aged man wearing those baggy shorts cut off at mid calf and a blue golf shirt, stood, with a camera on a monopod, taking pictures of the Amtrak train #125, when it stopped. He later walked away. Various women walked in and out of camera view. And some men did the same. They were all headed to someplace else.
There is a black SUV parked in the handicapped space. In a few minutes Train #90, the Northbound Palmetto, will pass through. It does not stop in Ashland. #90 is late. That isn’t unusual.
The web cam is extending its focus Southbound, anticipating the passage of #90 through town. A car crosses the tracks.
Outside my house I hear thunder. There seems to be no thunderstorm approaching Ashland, not yet at least. It is Summer. There are hot days and we all swear it’s miserable. And there will be marvelous, splendid storms, bringing noise and water and static discharges over the landscape, perpetually the L’estate movement of Vivaldi’s Il Quattro Stagione.*
The Ashland scene has no people in camera view, just cars, pavement and tracks, until a person in black pants and a pink top crosses the tracks. It is like an ambulatory Good N’ Plenty candy, the kind you buy in a box at the movies.
The signal flashes, the gate goes down, #90 passes through, on the way to Washington and New York. The camera pans by the lovely, verdant commons that are the Grounds at Randolph-Macon College. In the Southern sky are storm clouds.
Here comes Amtrak #66 headed ultimately to Boston. It stops. The tee-shirted travelers board the train using the yellow Amtrak stepstool. The stairs retract. The door closes. After a minute the train moves on.
Summer. Travel. Fun?
I decided to listen to the Summer Movement of The Four Seasons. I found a recording on YouTube, performed by a chamber orchestra of young women. And I remembered that Vivaldi was, in his day job, a priest at a girls’ orphanage in Venice. He wrote The Four Seasons for just such an orchestra as this one.