I leave Europe at a hundred miles an hour, underground. Two hundred fifty feet of solid rock above my head. Above that, a hundred fifty feet of water. The world outside the windows is black. After all, why illuminate a train tunnel? The sunlit fields of France are only a memory.
I cup my hands around my eyes and put my nose to the glass. It’s not entirely dark out there. Signal lamps flash by on occasion. From the glow of the train’s internal lighting, I can make out concrete walls maybe five feet away. Beneath them, I see a narrow walkway.
There are things in the tunnel with us. Big things, the size of a truck, resting or mounted on the walkway. We pass them with a whoosh every so often. Here in the deep places of the world.
We’re climbing uphill now. Every few seconds, white lights on the ceiling blink into view. Way markers for unintentional pedestrians, one assumes. Now we’re abruptly slowing. And we’re out. Elapsed time 22 minutes. The weather is overcast. Welcome to England.
Marc Fountain is a career freelance writer who took off for a month one Spring, pen and paper in hand, to meander by bus and train from Madrid to Loch Ness. You can see hints of his current project at http://TheMostNobleChoice.com/.