From the Rails

A view from the tracks

I'm posting this blog from somewhere between Salisbury and Charlotte, NC. 

Whenever I discuss The Great Agency Adventure with someone new, I’m always asked, “Why take a train when you could fly?” There are times when even I forget, but then as I board the rails once again, it all comes rushing back to me.

When you’re high in the sky, you don’t have a chance to experience what this great country of ours has to offer. You see the world, as if you’re a child staring into an ant farm. You see movement below, but you can’t quite make sense of what is going on. However, when you ride a train, you see all sides of our society—up front and in person. I’ve passed colleges teaming with students, baseball stadiums ablaze with lights and cheers, and city squares filled with happy families. I’ve seen burned out buildings, abandoned cars and fields as far as the eye can see. All in all, it never ceases to amaze me just how much the landscape can change in a few short minutes.

The things I see are not always full of gumdrops, rainbows and sunshine. Yet, in even the most downtrodden of areas, there is always a glimmer of hope shining through—whether it’s a newly constructed building, a community garden sprouting its spring roots or a freshly painted mural. These not only put the world in perspective, but they also remind us that the spaces between our cities demand recognition in their own right. That’s why I felt compelled to write this blog today. I know it’s not much, but with all the raw beauty I see on my train ride to Charlotte, I can’t help but take a moment to say, “thank you,” to all the people out there working hard—day in and day out. You may sit at a desk in the city or on a tractor in a small farm; it doesn’t matter as long as you’re out there doing what you love.

Being able to see these things and understand the depth of what our country has to offer. That’s why I ride the train.