May 16, 2009 Beltane Waning Flower Moon
The Capitol Limited Somewhere outside Cumberland, Maryland
9:30 a.m. EST
Slept last night very well. Early to bed around 10p.m. Tired from early rising and a full day of travel. The train rocked me to sleep as lightning flashed across the northern sky. I went to bed in Elkhart, Indiana and woke up in Pittsburgh.
In a tunnel right now. I’m not sure if this is the one but somewhere along here the ends of the tunnel are in W. Va. and the tunnel itself in Maryland. I have no idea.
Took a shower on the train. It was an ordinary enough shower except it moved like an LA bathroom in a mild tremor. There’s a small area with a seat, two hooks for clothing and a mirror, then a shower stall with non-skid plastic. I took my sandals with me, but habit took over and I was in the shower in my bare feet before I remembered them.
I ate breakfast this morning with a couple from Idaho who have a small hotel near Jhallus, Idaho, the Holiday Lodge. They were nice folks. May go visit since I’ve never been to Idaho.
I’m writing this in my roomette as we travel slowly through the Appalachian range. \I believe we passed through the Cumberland Gap about 15 minutes ago. A lot of history on this route. After a stop in Cumberland, Maryland we head for Harper’s Ferry. Two stops after that and we’re in D.C.
The layover in Washington will be 4+ hours. I plan to have a walk around with the camera, then back to Union Station. No museum on the way down. On the way back I’ll have 6 hours and I’ll hit the Freer and the Phillips.
5:30 p.m. First Class Lounge, Union Station, Washington,DC
We got in a little late, but no worries since my train, #97, the Silver Meteor, does not leave until 7:30 p.m. I’m not sure, but since this is a southbound train starting in Boston, it might be an agist pun. If not, it oughta be.
Louisiana Avenue runs at a diagonal away from Union Station toward the National Mall. I walked in the heat, keeping to the shade of trees and buildings, taking the occasional shot of the Capitol building and angling toward the National Gallery of Art. Along the way I began noticing what is very old news to inside the beltway folks, but struck me with force. Every Federal building has barriers to car and truck bombers. I took some photos and when I get home I’ll add them back into this post.
They struck me because their defensiveness could not be more apparent. They seem look like Lilliputian threads tieing down the outsized force of Uncle Sam.
On the way into Washington we stopped at Harper’s Ferry; John Brown’s body is still a’moltin’ in the grave. (what is molting anyway?) I got to thinking about approaching D.C. It would be the same as approaching, in different eras: London, Rome, Istanbul, Baghdad, Xian, Beijing, Mexico City in the time of the Aztecs. No matter how the US goes down in the annals of future centuries it will still be a colossus that strode, for awhile, as the world’s hegemon. Its capitol, where I write this, may provide future history channel specials: Washington in the Time of the Presidents!
Those of us who live in the Midwest come to the Capitol as country folks, far away from the deal making and policy wonking that creates buzz here in D.C. We might have a few clods of earth stuck to our shoes, perhaps a straw struck in our mouths. At least I hope we do, not because we lack intellectual or cultural sophistication, but because agriculture and care of the land is our heritage and if we do not come to power as our true selves who can replace us?
I’m gonna stow my bags again and wander around in the Station for a bit. Talk to you later.