"If you don't like being X-rayed, take the train," they said, so I took the train, all the way to my sister's in California. Now I'm taking it all the way back, and snatching this rare moment of station Wi-Fi to post today's comic, which went up on smallpeculiar.com at the regular time because, again, I can schedule posts in advance there.
It's about seventy-six hours to cross the country by train, but it's a good time if you're like me and can sleep anywhere. Did you know that there are things in America like mountains and canyons, and hilly deserts, and rushing rivers where the water foams white over the rocks before fanning out into dark green glassy depths like a portrait in Tiffany glass brought to life? Vast expanses of scrub and pine where no human being dwells, and deer drink from the river's edge totally unafraid and bald eagles wheel over the gorge and it's like Herman Melville is sitting next to me and saying, "See, that's what I was talking about"? Ranches where cows and horses crop the grass in little plains dwarfed by vast red cliffs, and the sun gleams off the topmost peaks as twilight rises from the east and washes down into the valleys? It makes me think of poetry, Milton and Whitman and the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold except of course I was not awake for that, I never am.
Denver's Amtrak station, sadly, is less grand than the Rockies or the Sierras, and makes me think mostly of the Warren Zevon song "Nighttime in the Switching Yard."