AMTRAK RESIDENCY, DAY 7
Today was peaceful and beautiful. It started out with the sun shining on my face, and it ended with the sun shining on my face.
We have been trundling along Texas, and upon waking today in the first twenty minutes of staring out the window I saw deer, and donkeys (or maybe those were mules), and squirrels, and turkey vultures, and clumps of cactuses that grow everywhere like weed and that brought me to some kind of an extatic excitement as I've never seen them grow like that.
Perhaps because it was so warm and sunny, perhaps because the scenery was so lush and green and unusual, I did my writing in a couple hours and spent the rest of the day partaking in mischief.
At around noon or so our train was parted into separate carriages, and rearranged and attached to a new engine with other carriages that were headed to LA and waited for us for close to 11 hours due to delay. Now, on the other side of our sleeper car we got hooked to a one story green car that we failed to identify and I filmed it until I was reprimanded by the railway workers to close the door (I was looking down from the second floor of our carriage). I know, I know.
After the big train disbandment and rearrangement there were few people left onboard. Lunch I spent talking with a retired interstate truck driver who also used to be an engineer and explained to me what it felt like to be electrocuted—first you see darkness, then a point of light that grows, and then reality out of that. He said he felt no pain and thought that his wife would be sad at his funeral, and he couldn't possibly have that happen. So he made it back and that's when he felt like he had 10,000 coffee cups at once. Lesson to you: don't try this at home.
We have rolled over a bridge crossing the Pesco River and collectively—I mean, the entire dining car—gazed at the unfolding prairie and later at the gorgeous golden sunset that burnished our faces pink in the observation car, a sort of an aquarium on wheels, all glass, so you can soak up the vistas and sigh and seep your tea and feel content (which I did). I also started reading Anna Karenina, which made me feel even more content, and someone on Intagram suggested (after I posted a picture of it) to have a copy of Anna Karenina in every carriage. What do you think about this, Amtrak? A library for passengers? I think it's an excellent idea.
After all the food and conversations and sun and sights I got so happy, I napped. Woke up. Read some more. Stared some more at the sunset. And now I'm writing this, about to drop to sleep.
Tomorrow, New Mexico! Arizona! California! I will see my daughter in LA, stay a couple days, and hop back on the train to go all the way to Seattle via Chicago. I can't believe that half of my adventure is gone. I want it to last longer.