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silently the river meets the sea and the barges too go silently

December 2, 2007
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Every year we see the boat parade from a slightly different vantage point. This year it had already begun when we got there, and we stopped on the Second Street cut-through to watch it. Even more boats than usual, it seemed, and all beautifully lit. The night was calm and clear, and to be right down next to the water, in the dark under the stars, was perfect; you felt almost like part of the procession. There were a lot of people down there, on both sides of the railroad tracks, and some very clueless ones who either allowed their children to stand ON the tracks and watch or, in one case, climbed up onto the trestle over the water– from which there is no quick egress– with a c. 9 year old child in tow.

Many people still do not realize how quickly a train can come upon you– they seem so huge and so incomparably noisy. My sister and I were discussing this– she has had the experience of being taken by surprise in a quiet area at nearly point-blank range. In fact, as we stood there, the Amtrak 6:00 appeared almost out of nowhere on the track behind us; I know that this can happen, but it still amazes me when it actually does…

Trains and boats and darkness and silence, and community and Christmas– it could be that way more often, if we’d let it.

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