A natural selection

Monday, September 5th, 2016

  • I could have met a rather grisly end taking this picture, earning me ridicule for being a dumbo that I would have totally deserved.

    I was in the French countryside when I crossed these rail tracks. Having the fascination I do with perspective shots, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take this shot. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what I neglected to do was remove my earbuds through which I was listening to some music.

    As I was crouched down taking this photograph (and many others) I thought to myself that the color of the rocks, that weren’t camouflaged by grass or moss, enhanced the perspective effect as the railway lines reached into the distance. I liked the 25 sign too, 25 what? I wondered. But the fence annoyed me a little, it seemed a little pointless. Clearly, it wasn’t keeping anyone off the railway line, so why was it there?

    Only then did it occur to me that the rocks, the sign, and the fence were somewhat recent additions because the train tracks I was on were part of an active railway, and very possibly a high-speed commuter line. In that moment as I was crouched down, with my ears full of music that was probably too loud, I realized that if a high-speed train was coming from the other direction, I was about to become an annoying delay on somebody’s commute!

    I quite literally jumped over to the side of the tracks and looked behind me, all while pulling the earbuds from my ears. It was a little dramatic, but I had this feeling that a train was probably speeding unstoppably toward my demise, horn blasting, wheels locked while the poor driver braced for the inevitable messy impact.

    Fortunately, the track behind me was empty and quiet. The only sound was the tinny whispering rhythm emanating from my earbuds now hanging around my neck. I looked at the screen on the camera. The pictures seemed fine, so I walked back behind the pointless fence that, on reflection, might not be as pointless as I first thought.