Day 119

“Stand behind the white line” bellows a deep voice through the loud speaker with a thick Australian accent. Only a handful of these busloads of tourists look around for the white marking painted on the ground. They all huddle in the patchy cool shade of the towering eucalyptus wanting to escape the harsh rays of this hot dry summer’s day. There wasn’t a breath of wind to take the unique sweet floral, green leafy perfume of the bush away. Small talk continues as suspense grows and the crowd thickens, spilling those over the white line wanting to capture the moment on their phone. The well-kept station master with his white grey hair and matching goatee proudly wears his black peaked gold embroidered cap high upon his head. Startling the unbeknownst tourists he pushes his way through the crowd blowing his high pitch whistle and ushers them back to safety away from the tracks. Heads turn and selfie sticks poke up as the first “Whoo-hooo” cuts through the air. Chugging along at a slow and steady pace Puffing Billy rumbles along the line and appears from around the corner. This 1920’s black sleek 8A locomotive with red fleet carriages full with passengers dangling their legs over the sides and waving to the crowd waiting on the platform. The heavy panting of the train gets closer, pulling the cord the conductor trumpets one last warning, “Whoo-hooo” as thick grey smoke billows out the smokestack. Tremendous hissing and screeching of the breaks slow the train down to a gentle stop at the station.
What the camera wasn’t able to capture in this moment of time was me, the one taking the photo, standing on the other side of the platform, looking down the line. This was my 20 minutes to shut off from a week of such highs and such lows. Not be the lady who had a tree land on her house and still dealing with insurance. I was a woman with a camera in her hand being a tourist in my own backyard and waving to the kids on the train. To see the beauty that surrounds this majestic place and just be.