A journal entry from about a month ago.
Train travel is more human than taking a plane. What would’ve been a three and a half hour flight spitting the passengers out at a three hour time difference clear across the country turns into a 44 hour trip slowly introducing us to new landscapes and time adjustments. People are able to move around, but we all have our home base seats, and even though I’m on for the entire ride, I’ve met people in the observation car that have hopped off along the way.
Chic farmer man has sheep and goats outside of Portland. He and his son are traveling back from visiting family in upstate New York. He talked on the phone about gifting pumpkins to everyone he knows and reacting with nothing but love. His military style jacket, build, and demeanor told me there was a time that he didn’t have the choice to do so.
B has been a massage and occupational therapist at the same hospital for 43 years. She’s on her way to visit her oldest brother on their family farm. We stayed up late having the god talk while I crocheted a hat and she appliqued the corner of a quilt. She’s waiting on god to speak to her. I told her I don’t believe in a god that speaks. We talked about friendship, soul searching, the importance of how we spend our years, and how she thinks more carefully about hers as she approaches 70 after being hit by a 90,000 pound dump truck a few years ago. “Making choices on borrowed time.” She hopped off at 6 this morning.
C is headed to harvest sugar beets in Montana. He has blue streaks in his hair that match his nails, a genuine smile, round glasses, and a jacket that says “hustler” in curly font. He’s based out of New Orleans and wondered if he’d have anything to come back to after managing the trash and recycling at state fairs and music festivals in New York this year. He almost fought a little girl after she stole his stuffed mouse while he was sleeping last night. We played a few games of rummy before he hopped off around 11 this morning.
S is in charge of my car. He immigrated from Chile to Anchorage Alaska as a teenager before he could speak English. He took what was supposed to be a summer job with an airline after high school and fell in love with the travel. When the airport cut workers in anchorage, he moved to Miami then found himself in Seattle and said it was his “happy medium.” He’s based there now and switched from airlines to trains in May of last year. We talked about global warming and how he watched a glacier disappear.
We’re traveling through North Dakota now. About half way through the trip to Seattle. We’re driving past ramshackle houses, oil fields, mansions, and pumpkin patches. All the fall yellows are present spotting the rolling hills and plains. It’s like a mixture of Kentucky and Kansas.