On the train, Prague to Vienna

I love the train. Love the ceaseless hum of it, the chug of the tracks beneath my seat, the beauty of outside rushing past the windows, the sky endless and still up above.

I’m leaving Prague, heading to Vienna. There are wild red poppies growing beside the train tracks, each one like a burst of hope.

We pass little towns, caramel coloured houses, riots of green, abandoned buildings, the bricks exposed and crumbling and crops stretching away into the distance, milky green and smooth.

Occasionally there is a crop of something golden and it blazes like a field of sunshine.

A tall thin older man couldn’t get through the automatic doors at the end of the train car. I don’t know why they aren’t opening. I walk down and wave my hand near the sensor as I have seen several others do and the door opened. He made a little, “Ahh” and thanked me.

As I slipped back to my seat another older gentleman suddenly popped up beside me and pointing to my suitcase, up on the rack above my head, said “Your suitcase is very strong. I will help you with this.” I made some inarticulate noise. “I will help you,” he said again and down came the suitcase.

I looked across to the station to make sure it wasn’t my stop and a man across the aisle from me said, “It’s not Vienna. Shall I just –” and he pushed my suitcase in to an empty seat, smiling at me as he sat down. Someone further down the train watched the whole thing and we shared a silly glance. I looked away so I didn’t start to laugh.

It left me feeling the goodness of things, the unlooked for kindness that is waiting to emerge.

Poppies beside the railway tracks