Single Engine Diesel

A single engine diesel is all that moved the cars from Boston to D.C.
Seven cars in total.. but I didn’t really count, just guessed. Seven
is a good number for train cars and dice. Just one diesel though and
a cafe car, that’s where I chose to sit. There I’ve got power,
electric power, but also reign over my table. A four person table for
just me.. unless someone sits down of course. Here, in my domain, I
can sit with confidence, with pride. I make sure my table is clean.
I make sure my kingdom is happy, everyone smiles, and everyone laughs
at my jokes. Here all things are in order and from here I can observe
my neighbors, draw up treaties, wage war, elicit sanctions, in
general, rule with authority. I diverge.

My new domain is indicative that I’ve indeed left the greatest
smallest state of Rhode Island. The big RI was an interesting stop
along the way, a relaxing stop and certainly a homely stop. I was
greeted by my friend at the train station and promptly invited into
her family’s life. I wasn’t about to go out to parties and run the
town, this was a wake up in the morning and eat your breakfast kind of
household, a very pleasant place. There were four siamese cats, all
very friendly, a noisy bird, three stories, my own room, and lots of
trees outside, green trees, tall trees, and a garden with sweet cherry
tomatoes. There were about a dozen bird houses scattered about, atop
poles, hanging from branches, in trees, and even atop one tree, which
I found slightly remarkable. A small ravine dipped away from ground
level just fifteen meters away from the house, dark but not too deep
and a grand place to explore. Past the ravine was nothing, that I
could see, except more trees. I didn’t feel like I’d left Maine in
that respect.

As I boarded the train bound for Philadelphia I thought, “did I see
it? Did I just float through Rhode Island or did I get a feel for it,
it’s value, it’s place, it’s people, at least as much as I could.” I
agreed I had, as much as I could have experienced it all in the
several days I was there and in a sense of agreement you only get when
you’re sitting by yourself on a train typing a short letter to
yourself. I evaluated. I saw rain and sun, woods and beach, swam in
a ‘pond,’ sat in a sauna, body surfed in the ocean, floated down a
river, crawed in muck and sand, ate fresh foods and canned, went to
the mall, walked through New Port, ate clam chowder and a salmon
burger, and watched every second of it go by. We talked, I listened,
read, and laughed a lot. While I could check things like Providence,
New Port, and Crazy Burger off my list, as the train barreled through
the state and onto Connecticut, I was in effect content, ready to be
on my way, but happy to have stayed.

Thus, there I was back on the Train, where there existed an odd sense
of home. Not the same sense that I was leaving, not the sense that
someone is looking out for you and yours, but the sense of familiarity
and possessiveness with a twist of safety. The standoffishness of the
other passengers coupled with their sense of willing weakness to
interact, eager for a catalyst. A perpetual state of limbo, of
passenger replenishment, a world where you stand still and the windows
project everywhere you’re not. I suppose that’s the motive force of a
single engine diesel. What a remarkable device.