And there is the headlight, shining far down the track, glinting off the steel rails that, like all parallel lines, will meet in infinity, which is after all where this train is going. ~Bruce Catton
. . .
We loved our train adventure, Sam and I. There were bountiful hours for reading and playing games and talking and country gazing. We didn't care what time it was, ever. The train stations were (and are) astonishingly beautiful. And I loved the gentle rocking of the chugchug at night, the melancholy whistle, the dining car, the efficient space solutions of the sleeping car, and the quick friendliness with fellow travelers. Mostly it felt like a blessing to be in the moment and really notice the acres of our country.
And to be there with Sam on that cusp between childhood and manhood. I remember a moment, catching sight of Sam's profile looking out the big window, with the light of the sunset spilling over the changing architecture of his face. The gratitude for him (and, yes, melancholy!) took my breath away. It wasn't all sunsets and coziness, though. At one point as I was chirping away he looked at me and said, with clenched teeth, "Mom, I don't want to TALK right now."
At the end as we pulled into LA's Union Station Sam said "Is it already over? I could keep going!"
I know the feeling.
Still, when we flew home last week--whizzing over the country we had witnessed, mile by mile, hour by hour-- we landed and he looked at me and said "are we already there? That was fast!"
Listen: Train Song ~ Feist & Ben Gibbard
Questions about the train trip? Email me (basic dot annie at gmail dot com) or comment here and I'll include answers in an upcoming train tutorial post.