The view of the mountain range is amazing. How small everything will seem in Muskoka when I get back. Also, how cold. It hasn't been below 12 degrees while we have been outside during this entire trip. I lost my jacket too. Had to buy a new one, so I purchased a less sexy but warmer one for the trip home.
I woke up to an eerie fog surrounding the train. I never thought of fog as eerie before, but perhaps that's because I always knew what lay beyond it. There were sandbanks that served as driftwood graveyards and a green river flowed around them. Bald eagles perched on the grave markers watching the water for signs of life. It was beautiful, the scene struck me with the same sense of awe as the mountains, and I couldn't tear my eyes away. Factory ghost towns line this once prosperous section of the railway. This trip has shown me the frailty of our economy, like watching dominos in slow motion, the warehouses in the process of being torn down, parking lots empty for all but two or three cars...each company along the line just one step behind the other, our creeky old train serving as a death rattle along the way. So many opportunities for green energy and renewable resources to breath life back into these rural communities, why isn't our government wooing these industries? Where are these hemp farms? Why couldn't that pulp processing plant get an economic grant to become a hemp processing plant? Our next pm should ride this railway and get a play by play of every crumbling community along the way. There is no work, their houses are worth nothing, these families are packing up their most precious possessions and moving to cities to get minimum wage jobs.
6 Bald eagles
Met a family travelling from China to Halifax, the father was from Canada originally. They believed Canada was going down the tubes, that China, though communist was a better place to live. They told me that there are no supports there, that there was no victim mentality. I never really thought about Canada's victim mentality. Our system seems to be built in a way to keep those on social assistance, on social assistance. Only certain programs actually encourage and even allow a person to upgrade their skills in order to obtain more permanent or higher paying employment. Personal growth is highly discouraged except in the case of a student looking to get a loan that is.
Looking out the window at the mountains, looking down at the river, forgetting that The train I am on is on a mountain itself. Don't become so far obsessed with looking out at other miraculous views, that you forget the miracle of what is right underfoot.
I love how the my whole world changes according to my soundtrack. My mountainous surroundings suddenly became bad-ass as so whatcha want blasts into my ears, I love travelling with Simon and Garfunkle, the Lumineers, Shaky Graves... but beastie boys adds a whole other level. I've been tempted to skip the love songs, because naturally my brain wants to associate with my last example of love. I will not run, I tell myself. I will let my memories flow through my mind, I will not judge them.
The trip home is timed in a way that is allowing us to see the landscape we slept through on the way here.
Adult conversation, children playing cards. Mountains shifting, turning, growing.
Thinking about where to go when the kids go to their dad's. A night in Kingston? Ottawa? Should I ask someone to come on my adventure? Would anyone I know be up for something like that?
Is this something I should be doing on my own? Maybe.
They are blasting the roots of the mountains here...
The landscape inspires me to write, but when I do I miss the landscape. What a cruel thing a muse can be. It's hard to type not looking down when you can't feel the keys descend under your finger tips.
The only red in the mountains are dead conifers.
I like to picture the jagged mountain tops to be collapsing stone castles. Bucket list addition: see Britain's castles.
Wise ladies sing to me through my earphones: Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world... I was a long time coming and I'll be a longtime gone, you've got your whole life to do something and that's not very long. So preoccupied with my emotional bullshit I forgot that I got a world to improve. I forgot how powerful I was, I focused all of my healing energy on a small unit. That is not my purpose. I see that again. I remember that shift happening, I remember the energy focusing into my womb, into my home, into my arms, into my lap, Into my breasts, into my hands, into my lullabies, into my bedtime stories, into my family no matter what that looked like at the time. I forgot how to expand joy, how to exhale joy, how to let it swirl off me like mist as I walk down the street. I forgot how to ACCEPT joy, I forgot that I do not have to work for it, I do not have to look for it in good deeds, in beautiful landscapes, in lovers, in children, in friends, in ritual, in talismans, in adventure. Joy is there, patiently waiting behind these things from which I catch glances, she waves cheerfully at me. I kept putting conditions on my joy, I will feel Joy when I have done _________, I will feel joy when I stop _________, I will feel joy when I start __________. There are no conditions on feeling Joy. None. You are always worthy of joy, at all times, in all situations, joy is there, it is okay to feel it, it is okay to express it. Joy is possible in loss, it is possible in fear, it is possible in anger, for these are passing emotions, a joy based in wonder and the miraculous existence of self: this is eternal, this cannot be tapped out, for as long as you exist your life is miraculous, period. You are animated stardust capable of consciously and unconsciously affecting the world around you, an inexhaustible source of joy and wonder right there. I accept joy, fully, completely and unconditionally.
Missed a Facebook message from James Gray while in Jasper, seems like we just missed each other in our travels. He just crossed into BC as we came upon Jasper. I wonder if he saw our train? Many of his songs were in my travel soundtrack.
Well how do you follow something like that?
The Baker, The Free Hug guy, The looks like Neisha Coleman girl, friend met in Vancouver that I forget the name of.... Jig saw puzzles, food additives, self sufficiency, swans vs Canada geese, via can rail passes. If you go out and do things you think are cool, you will meet other people who enjoy doing the same things. Easy concept to say, cool concept to experience. What a great group that jumped on in Saskatoon. I love the train.
Things I learned about train travel:
You'd be amazed at how large your carry-on can be: if you think you might need it bring it in your carry on.
Bring blankets it's bloody cold at night.
Grocery shop whenever you can at the stops.
Breakfast is affordable, all other meals are best purchased at the super market then brought on board.
Say "hi" to everyone.
People who think they may never see you again will share very personal things with you and vice versa.
Train time is confusing when traveling east to west and west to east: tally mark smudges on your window maybe necessary.
Wifi and cellphones will not work for most of the trip.
Most stations are in the middle of nowhere and have nothing to offer in necessities, buy what you need while you can, do not put it off until the next stop.
Always have your camera ready.
Put down your camera.
Dilapidated farmhouses, fascinating and sad. Tall barns with little houses on top. Coyotes, eagles, hawks. I don't know why people refer to the prairies as boring... The sporadic glassy ponds are crystal blue and the foliage that encircle them complementary oranges and yellows. Prairie sunsets, the word panoramic falls horribly short of the mark. It's the imax of sunset enjoyment up here in the dome car.
Live music, I spotted the musician earlier today in conversation. There needs to be a better term than musiciandar. Guitardar?