Sunday, December 20, 2009

On Tantalization, or, why I will not post pictures.

Many of my trainmates clicked their cameras away during our trip, especially crossing the Seirras and the Rockies. I however took not a single picture. Neither will I consent to write a book about my Amtrak experiences.
It's not that I object to pictures in general. I dislike seeing the world through the tiny lens, but I'll do it for a purpose. When I have been in exotic places like Prague, Uganda.... and Lostine... I post prolifically, because I know many of you will not get to travel there.
Amtrak? You can take it. I'm serious. Yes, it takes a little more advance scheduling, but usually no more money than a plane ticket. It goes many places you might want to go, and if you don't know any others you can always call and visit ME.
Now you might not be about to wear clericals. Granted. Some of you are not even remotely about to be ordained to anything, and some ordained persons are anti-clerical-garb. But I'd estimate that roughly 93% of my experiences had nothing to do with that. You don't need a special costume to strike up conversations with truckers, artists, students, vegans, libertarians, pot farmers and shroom aficionados, and even with Amish folks (who I'd assumed unapproachable but found quite friendly).
You too can scale the Sierra Nevadas without getting out of a comfy recliner. You can go through Ruby Canyon on the Colorado River, without rafting (still the only other viable access route). Go North, you can go straight through Glacier National Park.. there are many amazing routes, and many amazing people to meet.

I wonder sometimes if I'm a better evangelist for Amtrak than for Jesus. The more I talk about how great my trips are, the more friends start taking them too. At least I think this is how evangelism should take place: not through me yelling at people who fly, but expressing the awe and wonder in which I revel, while crossing mountains with cafe cars full of new friends. If you have not yet read it, I commend to you Shane Claiborne's recent letter to non-believers regarding fascination. I do believe that this is how we can best communicate that which we love and believe in.

So if I have not yet convinced you that Amtrak is a fascinating, awesome way to travel, I can only say in the words of wiser sages "come and see." And if my sixty-something-year-old counseling client with Parkinson's and a bum hip can manage to brave a daylong trip in order to see some of the wonders I have seen......... YOU CAN TOO.

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