What is worse than riding on an Amtrak train? Maybe confronting yourself.

Ahh, the romance of train travel. Reclined, relaxed, renewing oneself while gazing lazily at the world through the picture window.
The folds of landscape pass, naturally rise and fall, enveloping one into Mother Nature’s picture book – sometimes invaded by man’s dedication to himself. Like the scribble of an adolescent with a crayon – Homeosapians’ relentless progress influences artificial weathering and erosion while depositing his longing for remembrance in deep compaction of fifth and wealth – soon sending Mother Nature’s work to the discard pile.

Wait -what is wrong with me?

This is not true.


I am passing by a plethora of beauty—God’s creation. Only my picture window is stained with filth, distorting my view.
Perhaps it is my eyes that are stained? My perception?
Do I no longer see the wonderful world full of beauty? What is the cause of my perverted vision?

Man cannot be so powerful – my vision is perverted. My vision limits and causes me not to see the forest for the trees.

My spacious seat is surrounded by others who have set up little Banana Republics on this cross-country Amtrak journey. We carry our needs, our perceived needs, and each his own.

We are connected only by these walls of a train. We journey together, but each journey is ours. Perhaps society could learn from nature. Perhaps our arrogance and disconnect from our “natural” relationship have been our greatest sin.
To borrow an idea or two from Edward Abbey –
We reap what we do not sow – and plant things where they do not naturally grow.
Beyond this smeared window lays symbiotic relationships, biotic and abiotic kinships from microscopic to astronomical. Systemic truths developed out of a need to survive rather than to find purpose.

Perhaps that is where true beauty is found.

A spiritual kinship that cannot be screen-printed on a t-shirt or scribbled on a FAQ page.

A majestic peak is only majestic on the surface – under the surface is aggressive – pushing and pulling, destroying and creating – a natural war. I find it ironic that man feels superior when he climbs to the peak. I am more impressed by those who move the mountain.

Why did Thoreau sit and watch the forest burn? Could he have tamed it with water and a call for help? Would that have made Thoreau superior?

If destruction provides for new creation, then perhaps that fire is a form of conception/renewal. Would firefighting then be a form of nature abortion?

Was Thoreau a Right to Lifer?
Was Thoreau a voyeur?

The Amtrak roles on and the scenes beyond the distorted glass pass and the Amtrak roles on-

Wait! No, it does not. It stops—a lot.


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