The railroad crossing gates flash red, chime and ring but make no noise. Inside the train all sounds are drown out to the clatter of the tracks and the whirl of the wind left in our wake; the chatter of talking, energetic and calm; the hum of motion as we buzz along. Changing landscapes zip by and disappear: town after town, state after state, fading from sharp outlined buildings and shabby warehouses to endless rows of crops and scenes of green. Descending now into the blackness of night, reflections of the interior are imprinted, static and ghostly, over distant flickering lights as the land continues to pass by through the night.
I'm sitting on the Amtrak, on my way to Whitefish, Montana while considering the things that phase and fade. By various means I've made my way through Union Pier, Traverse City, Leland, Macinaw City, Escanaba, Marquette, and .Appleton, all small American towns of various cut. It's towns like these that can be found all over the country, whether it's touristy towns full of tawdry summer hotspots, bicycle bell and bar filled college enclaves, or just plain, quant and charming small towns... this represents middle America.
We continue past small town businesses with small town names like "Hardware Hank," and "Dust Town Saloon." Then past even more boarded up buildings, an interesting blight festering, as the struggle to hold on to this American Dream is played out and it's destruction is demonstrated. Yet... as another collection of houses passes by in a flash I am left curious as to who these people are and what they are doing here, drawing inspiration from the blink of their existence that can be seen out the windows of my Westbound train.