I asked the writers to tell what drew them to the photograph. Barb Galvin was pulled in by “the feeling of the unknown as the tracks disappeared into the distance. It opened up the infinitesimal possibilities of the future of those on the train and where they may be going.”
Barbara Farmer “was immediately drawn to the center of the opened flower. …It stirred my thoughts of a yellow bonnet; a feminine quality of white, yellows bright & pale…accentuated an expression of final peace. The petals were like arms reaching in a prayer of thanks.”
Writing from images, or ekphrastic writing, is one way to prompt an immediate story. Thanks again to my generous writers and artists.
It rode on arms of steel, gently curved, bowing like the arc of a rainbow, disappearing into infinity. The rugged rails of strength nestled into grey, gritty gravel, anchored with bolts into wooden cross-ties, lending its air of permanence and stability.
The train gently rocked and swayed on its journey—passengers cocooned into worn leather seats, a testament to the lives that had passed along this same path, day upon day, week upon week, year upon year. But for the passengers, nothing was permanent. Lives in flux journeyed into the future with uncertainty. A man searching for hope with a new job; a young mother wishing for a respite from her tumultuous life; a teenager venturing on his own to college; an elderly couple seeking to cherish their waning moments together.
It stopped in towns large and small, disgorging some of its travelers, welcoming others to board. Some sat in silence, others engaged in frivolous conversation, still others sought companionship. The scenery changed along the way like the exchange of people from station to station. Still the train moved on, undeterred by the lives encapsulated within the walls of its cars.
The lonely sound of its mournful horn filtered through the air, signaling its approach. Cars halted at its crossing oblivious to the hopes and dreams streaming by. All they knew was it was the Local 427 headed north. Nothing else mattered.
The picture could be a model for a Georgia O’Keefe painting. The baby lies softly, tucked among the soft, white petals. A bonnet of yellow stamen, frames her sweet, little face. Peacefully she lies now; a little babe born prematurely, facing insurmountable odds for survival. Her pink tongue is showing off her sassy personality. Politely, she is wishing “mommy” would be here. She slumbers into sleep, as her eyes close. Her little arms are stretched out like wings, signaling up to the angels, thanking them for their love and protection, as she feels the warmth from their smiles.
The picture is taken of the sleeping babe, that will blossom later into bigger petals.