I have many wandering notes about my train trip, but first let me make a pitch for more support for our rail system in this country. We subsidize the airlines; we pay for the roads, WTF?
I took a lightning raid train trip to NYC last week. It was quick and efficient on the way down, and a bit long and slow on the way home, but I did get to read a whole novel, finish most of my music homework, and send off a bunch of flirtatious text messages (to my husband). All of this is difficult while driving, although the lack of being able to sing does slow down my learning a new song, but I am not so sure singing and driving should be legal for someone like me, I get really lost in the music!
I live in Vermont, and often walk in the mornings with my friend Susan Bonthron. She is an incredible book artist, check her out at: www.otterpondbindery.com We spent some time talking “Trains,” and she sent me an old poem about her ride up the East Coast. Here is an excerpt:
The Train I’m On
The Yankee Clipper chuffs out of Newark
ten minutes late, slides quietly on
sidings, clicks across tracks, makes
its connections in the cross-hatched railroad yard
and picks up speed.
I read, but can’t keep my eyes on words
when the window slides past so
many private places people treat
as if no one could see, though trainloads
pass by regular as clocks and whistles.
I was reminded of the trip I took from Mexico City to Oaxaca by train (no longer an option!). The train wound past sights not visible by car. I saw sights that broke my heart, like the endless miles of toxic chemical dumps where people live under plastic tarps, and scrounge for garbage. No tour guide listed sight was revealed here, but one that I hope taught me to continue the fight to change the world, even if it is in a small way, and to remember compassion and humility in a BIG way.
I awoke that night to visions of wild and perilous trestles on the backside of impassable mountainsides rising out of the early dawn mist, and slept again to the clack of the wheels.
After my trip last week, I have a new fantasy. I “wicked” want to travel by sleeper car somewhere-like Chicago or New Orleans. I waited for quite a while in front of those train schedule boards, where everyone gathers before hurrying off to the announced track for their train. Kind of like a dance. I listened to the list of towns and final destinations, and this being November in the Northeast, I had to restrain myself from trying to board the one that ended up in Miami! Oh well, the trees are bare, but, today, my heart is full. What is that word my friend Trish taught me in her Brooklyn garden “Saudage?” That is for another blog!