The seventy and eighty degree days that I had enjoyed earlier in the week had vanished, displaced by a cold front that swooped in the day before I left (highs were in the fifties, so I wasn’t exactly suffering). As would be typical for me I had a stiff headwind to fight against on my way to the Amtrak station the morning of my departure. I had to cycle hard to make it on time; this wasn’t helped by my missing a turn (also typical), and lingering too long at The Daily over my breakfast and coffee. I did however make the station on time, and no one bothered to make a fuss over my trailer, thankfully, either (always a slight worry).

The train ride went as any train ride ideally should, and that was without hiccup, or holdup, delay, or catastrophic malfunction. I’ll spare the details, because there are few. However, just three seats ahead of me there was a rather peculiar woman with hair like straw, and a face worn and creased like an old piece of leather, carrying with her a large, wooden cross, perhaps three feet tall and two feet across. She also carried a couple of battered, old suitcases which she asked me to stow for her in the compartments above. She sat with her cross for a while but later placed it in another storage compartment on the other side of the train. I overheard her say she was on her way to D.C. to protest something about The Affordable Care Act, but as she was talking to another woman in the seat across the aisle I wasn’t able to glean any other information regarding her intentions. I’m not sure if the cross was supposed to act as some sort of prop for a performance she was planning, or if it was just something she carried around on her person wherever she went, although, I imagine that would get rather wearying after a while. Anyway, most of the nine hour train ride she wasn’t even in her seat. God only knows where she wandered off to, but she had this dirty blanket that she would drag along behind her just like Linus. What curious people we stumble upon in our wanderings over this great, big land.

My mom kindly picked me up at Union Station, and so marked the end of the first beginning of my trip. And now the second beginning will commence in short order. I have an Amtrak scheduled for the 18th to Durham, NC to visit a friend and, after spending the Saturday there I will be on my way back to Charleston, then to Savannah, and then west to…

The blue sky above is law
Reflected in the wetland’s still, brown waters
And the cotton fields yet unpicked


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