Sunday, March 28, 2010

October 12, 2009 Day 3: Coast Starlight Train


It started out dark but not dreary. I woke up early to make sure I ate breakfast between 5-6am. Since we expected to arrive in LA at 815am, the crew needed time to serve us and to clean up.

The term they use is "community seating", you are seated at a booth with whomever choses to eat at the same time you eat. So breakfast was another table of 4 strangers, who for a time chatted like old friends.
We exchanged names, but to my chagrin, I forgot their names the minute they told me. But the woman sitting next to me immediately asked:
     "The table you were at last night, there was one woman who looked so sad. What was wrong?"
I was taken aback by the question, I haven't been paying as much attention as I guess I should have been. I never noticed her, but she noticed us.. I didn't mention names, we are all just passing ships, so I told her the truth.
After I did so this new woman I just met simply nodded and said:
     "I'm on year three of colon cancer. Doing good."
I assumed that meant she was 3yrs into remission. Again, I was taken aback by the candidness of our conversation. I don't know what it means, but I'll file it away like I always do. There are things we can share with a stranger because that we can't share with our close friends and family. Maybe because we are more considerate of their feelings than a strangers?
I can't tell my family just how badly I'm feeling because they would worry. A co-worker isn't as emotionally invested in you and will tell you to just suck it up, but will worry about you as well. A stranger will be sincerely concerned, but they won't worry, they will say a prayer and then their moment in your life is passed, their purpose fulfilled. They let go, you let go.
This morning as we arrived in LA, I looked for my friend from the night before. Perhaps she rode on the red caps' trolley, I walked. But I didn't see her again. I'd like to think one day I'll hear from her telling me she's doing well. I also like to think, maybe I didn't need to see her because I had given my message already. I have had so many angels drop into my life, saying something casual and random, I would hope that this once, I was an angel for her.
Wherever you are, my friend, I say a prayer and only wish you the best.
-Behold! The Pacific Ocean! 1228pm

     Today I switched trains; I am on the "Coast Starlight" that will take me on my final leg to Seattle. It literally hugs the coast; I watched the waves tumble endlessly. It was magnificent to see the coast, north of Santa Barbara to just south of San Luis Obispo. There were parts that weren't accessible by car or foot ; I was in awe. I was plastered to my window! Then inland towards Salinas, we rode through mountain ranges where I saw deer; happy California cows! Four tunnels later, I got my cell signal back.
     The Pacific Ocean absolutely enthralls me and suddenly a moment of absolute clarity struck me in the form of a haiku I wrote about my muse. 
          Pacific Ocean
          Seafoam reminds me of your
          Grey saltwater eyes

Tonight at dinner I met Valerie; Bonnie, Canadian childhood friends. They took a cruise from Vancouver and stayed in San Diego for a few days and were now returning home. While I was having dinner, my muse on Twitter said something about wishing the Canadians a happy thanksgiving, serendipity? Of course I didn't see the tweet until I had said goodnight to the ladies, otherwise I would have passed on the regards.   

I've  met so many interesting people; I've told them all my crazy story of missing the train. It's a great icebreaker. Unexpected cicumstance turns into great stories!

Tomorrow the Cascade Mountains await. I wondered why it takes so long, it's 1377mi (according to the brochure) so it's approximately 22hrs of actual travel time.

My tweets during this day:

-It is 434am in California. Next stop, San Bernadino, CA. It's colder this morning than yesterday! 434am

-Night still glides by my window as sleep struggles needlessly with alert. I'll let them slug it out and just sit here. 438am

-It is 640am and the highway is already packed w/traffic. Red string lights dot the road. 640am

-Traveling Feet is now in LA! 801am

-LA Union Station, it's grey it's cloudy, but I'm enjoying the fresh air 802am

-Maybe it won't be 2 hard to get Traveling Feet to pose. This is in the general waiting area at LA Union Station 826am

-So this route is far more bourgeois than the last route. We in the sleepers have a separate "parlor" car and wine tasting- a sarcasm font :-/  10/38am

-Love, I've mapped out our romantic getaways, I know the places you'll love because I love them too. All I need is for you to arrive. 1109am

-It's only 1pm yet the sky is getting darker, there is a tangerine tinge to the clouds. Does it presage rain storms? 106pm

-Saw a buck bounding through to dunes on his way to the ocean. Beautiful full horns too! 252pm

-Freshly cut trees trackside; the bright orange insides glisten like blood, can you hear a tree scream? 253pm

-Went thru 4 tunnels just now, want to see what I looks like when u r in a tunnel!  417pm

-I'm just a melancholy baby watching the landscape fly by, each railroad tie, each mile, every mountain we climb, remind me-you're not here. 537pm

-It's the grey of late afternoon that obscures my sight like a hidden veil. Or is it the tears that linger on the edge, refusing to fall? 541pm

-What I have learnt in the trip so far, age doesn't diminish your ability to be engaging, fascinating and friendly. 914pm

-I must admit the rolling years can be cruel, but you cannot submit to that cruelty. Enjoy life it is a gift of great joy! 915pm

We just passed Oakland, about 30-40mins ago, next stop is Martinez, CA. I'm going to sleep. G'nite! 

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