I love trains, but even more, I love train whistles. They are an echo from the past. I am against city ordinances, such as the one recently proposed in Fargo, that would ban trains from sounding their whistles in town.

When I was in the dorm at UND, I could hear the trains banging together and apart in the train yard just across campus. I also could hear the whistles, but I was convinced at the time and still am that the whistles sound different, and better, in Fargo.

After graduating from UND, I went to Moorhead State where I ended up in an apartment only two blocks from the tracks where about 58 trains per day come through, most of them carrying coal. I have many great memories of falling asleep to those train whistles.

I remember falling asleep to train whistles in Flagstaff, AZ--whistles which bounced off the San Francisco mountains so you would hear them twice, once in a higher key than the next due to the Doppler effect.

Well, tonight I am a happy camper. I am hearing train whistles in my house, a full nine miles from the nearest track. I think it due to the microphone I have outside which is hooked to a speaker inside, a microphone meant for the birds but which is proving to have additional benefits. I have been hearing many things I haven't heard before in the past few days. But the most thrilling has been the train whistles. Just now, I heard the train toot on and off for a stretch of ten minutes, which means I must have been hearing it travel over a space of many miles.

So, even here in the woods in the middle of nowhere, I get to hear the distant rumble of commerce and industry. For some reason, it is reassuring.