On the non-stop from Kalamazoo to Chicago, I watch the small towns pass and look for the names on the stations. Station masters come out and raise a hand in greeting as we pass. Fall is gently taking her shift. It’s as though summer and fall are dancing briefly side by side.
soy bean field
dusty green leaves contemplating the color they will soon announce
dead west across SW Michigan
There are quite a few college students aboard. Wonder where home is for them? Wonder where home is for me? Still head dead west at the one hour point. Nice looking town homes, harbor looking-ish. Must be getting close to the big lake? My compass shows we are turning slightly southerly. It’s a little RV-on-the-go-club compass Dad gave me as a gift once along with several tiny levels and some sharpened pencils. Early in his Alzheimer’s.
Sign said Grand Beach Welcomes You. Red Arrow Stables. Wow! Notre Dame Catholic Church and School. Billboards show “219″ area code. Indiana? Michigan City. There’s the lake!
1 hour 10 minutes.
I like when I see miniature windmills in a sweet little yard. I wouldn’t want one myself but I’ve met several people who have one. Saw the letters “EMP” on a box and thought of you. Indiana Dunes Lakeshore. Still southwesterly. Fairhaven. Haven, haven ,haven. Wonder how many towns around here have haven in their name. And, shall I assume the definition? Porter now. Looks like a fun town. Bigg’s Violin Shop. Now that’s not something you see everyday.
Jerked west again a bit, letting off air brakes, going slow.
1 hour, 25 minutes.
Ah yes, underpass graffiti. Boats in back yards like pick-up trucks in the country. Burns Harbor. Not Haven, ha. Either my compass is off, or, this train is seriously hugging the lake. Makes sense. I’ve decided just now to carry this compass with me always. It also has one of those little red LED lights that help you find things, like key-holes I’m told.
Gary. Stopped. Factories far and wide. Went over a small river. The water was an odd shade of blue, like that fairly new flavour of Kool-aid blue. Union Pacific hauling by as we wait. There is a unique charm to an old factory, especially the the office manor out front by the gates.
BEGIN MEASURED MILE. A sign I just saw. Seems like a message I should pay attention to. Asked the conductor about it.
Having a blueberry muffin still a bit frozen from the bag I packed this morning.
Near Calumet Harbor? I saw the Channel. I’ve been here before. I was 5 or 6. The freighter Captain brought me a tiger’s eye from Africa. White tablecloth in the Captain’s dining room and too many little potatoes. FLASH BACK. Huh. Apparently I liked this memory because I just got it back.
Chicago via the ship-yards. It’s a bit of Rotterdam, just not as massive nor nearly as neat.
We’ll meet in the Great Hall at Union Station. I have muffins to give away. But how will I decide who to give them to with all the sad and lonely people sleeping on the benches in the Hall?
I’m a little worried about getting down the platform in this mass of people what with me moving so slow. I get knocked around and one of the red caps going by with a people cart asks me if I’m ok. I say no. He doesn’t stop and doesn’t come back. I stop outside for a smoke and it is so windy I laugh out loud.
My decision about the muffins is made easy. There are no benches in the Great Hall, and, right as I walk in, there, on my right before I even go down the stairs is a man lying on the floor, asleep? He has a bike. I leave the bag of muffins by his side. I go down into the hall and sit on the floor by a pillar and take pictures.
I pray for the man on the floor at the top of the stairs. God, please make his life better. Then, I’m worried that he isn’t sleeping. I go back up and I see that the bag of muffins is now right by his bike. I touch him. He is warm. He’s not dead. I hope he likes the muffins.
I still pray for him from time to time but often I forget.The nice thing about forgetting is that if it comes back, it’s like opening a present and being completely surprised. Like someone knows you really well and gets you something you really want.