Right now I can hear the long, mellow whistle of a train. It covers for just a bit the low rumble of the train moving along the tracks. I'm too far away to hear the more abrupt clacking of the wheels. From this distance, the sounds are softened and smooth.
When I was a little girl, I remember lying in bed and listening to the trains. The tracks were about a half mile from our house, and the whistle threaded its way through the woods and into the window of the room I shared with one of my sisters. I'm sure that I sometimes heard the trains during the night, but I mostly remember hearing them in the early morning, especially when we had the windows open to the cool night air of late spring and summer. I would lie there in the gray almost-light before dawn, not awake or asleep, and I'd listen to the trains. Maybe I wondered where they had been or where they were going, but mostly I think I just listened to them pass.
I still hear trains in the early morning. The tracks are not so far away from our home, but now the rumble of train on tracks and the long warning whistles pass through neighborhoods and parking lots to reach my ears. There is still just enough distance to mute the sounds so they match the muted light of early morning, and it's just as I remember it. As dark to fade to light, I sometimes find myself listening. Not quite awake, but definitely not asleep, I listen to them pass and remember.