Not much sleep the night before. Anxiety runs wild thoughts. Did I remember everything? Did I pack everything? Should I lock up everything? Should I tell anyone? What happens if I’m robbed while I’m gone? What happens if the house burns down? What happens…..?
So finally, I’m up and I stop fighting it. Early, early news, coffee, oatmeal, and water only this time the morning exercise ride will be excused.
Said “Good bye” to the yard. It is tough to leave the existence of life.
Waiting for the cab on the porch, which arrived on time (a good omen of the day). Pleasant ride to the station, which was, further than I had remembered so I’m glad I didn’t walk.
Figure out the scanner for tickets wasn’t as difficult as I made it until I followed the instructions.
Live news coverage shown on big television of the camera crew out front talking about train security. Thanks, that helps settle the frequent traveler.
The train arrives on time and the journey begins.
The slow rumble and rocking settle the nerves of a long ride about to take place.
The “Squash a Penny” crossroad store caught my eye and we slowly passed through small towns and villages. The thick forest countryside was untouched as if it was the same view seen during the Civil war or by John Smith.
Across the isle computer solitaire filled one passengers void.
Old discarded manufacturing plants in little sleepy towns. Next to our path, older rusty rails held forgotten boxcars. Green bogs shimmered from the recent sprint rain but the sun held out today. Stretches of green fields looked like golf courses. A little white church sat on a hill between the trees at the end of a long winding black pathway. The blur of homes holding generations of families who listened to the sound of us passing everyday. The “Snakes” tagged their territory. A stone pyramid with a small red sign too small to read in the instant passes by as a monument to something unknown. New wooden ramps attached to old paint flecked buildings showed the age of Fredericksburg. Rows of cars sit silent in a muddy dirt parking lot at the Purena plant. Crumbly concrete with years of patches testifies to the weight of the mighty engine and the frequency of its journeys.
A young brunette sleeps in front of me, her long hair draping between the seat and the window waving back and forth in the sway of the travel. I want to touch it, but I’ll restrain myself. Her solo slumber does not relay any information about her, but her bitten down fingernails do.
Chain link fences topped with barbwire surround Quantico. Does it keep the bad guys out and the good guys in or vise versa? Hundreds, maybe thousands of rusty metal hulks lie in between the trees like left over warriors. The Alexandria sprawl with it’s own metro line. Into the cave of the nations’ capitol, we sit for a half an hours without power. Walk up and down the isle to get feeling back and stretch for the continuation of the journey as others pace the concrete. The rain comes washing away the smell of DC.
Another small town with it’s own monument to the railway – a red caboose in a yard.
A flirting blond and a load of Hispanics replace the brunette. A father and his small son take the seats the blond and her gentleman companion vacate until they return with their coffee. The conversation stops as the gentleman goes back to work on his laptop. How much was that coffee?
A young man takes off a huge stuffed knapsack and immediately plugs in his email and music. Is it distraction or necessary on a long journey?
“Light”, “Light”, “Light”, “Light” is the word a small boy finds enjoyable for all to share.
Passing over a river, old stone pillars to a long forgotten bridge are the only reminders of it’s existence, but nature shows its softening manner of growing green sprouts out of their tops.
I always find the ancient rough decrepit Baltimore row house neighborhood fascinating.
Several people start coughing. Great! Trapped in an enclosed space for hours surrounded by sick people.
Old freight cars line the rusty rails to the side of our path. Who knows they are there?
Transfer to the huge marbled Philly train station with the three story tall statue dedicated to the Pennsylvanian train employees who died in WWII. Rows of fast food cafes line the perimeter as the an-an-ous-ous-men-ments are echoed to the high ceilings. These sounds of my childhood are still not understandable. Where are the Red Caps?
A line forms at Gate 9 before our next departure, but the leader moves to Gate 7 and we all follow. We love lines.
Find a seat next to the pleasant looking guy named Gene; a prostate cancer patient who worked as a nuclear engineer in the navy and retired to Parksville. Nice conversation as the train slowed down for “Signal Problems”. Take your time and get it right, I’m not in a hurry. Gene points out a deer next to the tracks with the excitement of a small child traveling for the first time while the girl behind softly sings to her iPod.
Horses, silos, and dirty plots of farmland, not green yet like the previous land.
Small towns have interesting old houses close to the tracks while the cities have broken down graffiti covered warehouses with broken or boarded up windows. The rubble of bygone days lines the rails as a discarded history of trash.
Patches of purple flowers pop up between massive jutting boulders.
“Harrisburg. Eight minutes. All doors should open”