On my way to vacation in NYC.
You know you've left Wallowa county when:
1. you see a traffic light
2. highways have multiple lanes
3. you see three or more supermarkets in the same town
getting farther away:
4. scanning the radio gets you a new station in less than ten seconds
5. you get on a train that's going anywhere but the storage yard
6. you smile at someone and they don't say "so where do i know you from?"
and about halfway across the country (after leaving Montana)
7. you see more people than deer
8. eventually, even more people than cattle
9. your train pulls through town, and ten cars or more pile up at the railroad crossing
10. i don't know how to describe it, folks, but there's this antsy, jittery, GET ME BACK TO THE WOODS feeling you get...
This (above) was written on the approach to Chicago. Three hours in Chicago was overwhelming, and I hate to admit it, but I've lost a little of my citydwelling edge. I even hesitated before pushing through a crowd of people headed toward me! Then i got on another train and fell asleep, waking up in the beautiful (but manageably small) city of Pittsburgh around dawn, and for the next six hours we were plunged into the jungle of Pennsylvania, with nothing but forest and rivers and the occasional teeny-tiny town. WONDERFUL! then the re-civilizing process repeats -- the proportion of working vehicles on roads to wrecks rusting in front yards begins to increase again... I'm glad I took the back route through Pennsylvania and Maryland (strange and wonderful) instead of going through Buffalo and Syracuse (familiar and unsurprising).
When I grow up I don't think I'm likely to live in Chicago, but I think I'll live in a cabin on the banks of a river in the Appalachian Mountains, because I looked at them from the train window today and imagined serving God there. Unfortunately this is how decisions get made in my life. Inspiration seizes and I naively follow. Then when I get "there" (wherever "there" is) it's always way harder than I expected and I buckle down and make myself work on it until my time there passes and I've learned a tremendous amount -- and rinse and repeat.
LEARNED SO FAR:
I like country life.