The Road Less Travelled

Where have I been you say? Well, I’ll tell you where I have been. I’ve been to a Pema Chodron retreat, and if you want to know how great that is you should go to your own. How foolish would it be for me to try to describe her???

But the rest of the trip was also fairly interesting and I’ll give you some of the high points.

I started out as usual getting lost for quite a long while in Austin until I finally went to the doorman at that really really REALLY snazzy hotel down there by the river and he told me what I was looking for (a not-snazzy hotel) was on the other side of the river. So I got a place to stay and a good nights’ sleep before getting on the train to Chicago. That was interesting and added a couple of people to our mailing list, and we arrived in Chicago four hours late, but that really didn’t much matter, as I had to wait 5 or 6 hours in the station.

I was the very first person on the train to Albany and snagged the perfect seat, after which the train filled up and someone came to sit next to me, which would be OK, except I had no sleep on the previous train because my legs hurt unless I move around. So this guy was sitting there and my legs were jumping around until finally I went up and found a position in the lounge car with my body twisted just right around the table so that I could fall asleep for short periods of time. Meantime this guy sat bolt upright, sound asleep, for about 10 hours.

We were a couple of hours late into Albany, where I transferred to another train that arrived late into Rhinecliff because of flash flood warnings on the Hudson River. I was only slightly disappointed that the water never came up to the hubcaps, and we arrived about half an hour late. It’s a good thing they recorded that first talk, because my pen dropped out of my fingers several times as I faded into audio hallucinations and missed most of it. It was very good. Equanimity.

The entire Omega experience was beautiful and relaxing and friendly, and healthy. They have honeysuckle TREES. And as I had made my return reservations for the wrong day, I got to stay over and investigate the beautiful and excellent Ram Das library. You should go to Omega. They have R&R vacations or work-study vacations. You can go and just hang out or work half time and attend things.

So then I went back down to the train station. The only person on the platform as the train came in and the station master announced “Train #133 to Austin!” And I did the whole train thing in reverse. The biggest difference was the Albany to Chicago train was about two hours late getting all the cars organized and late getting into Chicago, so they held up our trains to Austin and elsewhere. We had this very friendly car full of people supervising the organization. The last of them has just gotten off and I’m feeling a bit bereft.

But not to get ahead of the story, I’m sure you want to hear about the young man who got on to the Albany-Chicago run sometime about 1:30 AM (I was sleeping in the café car), claimed my seat next to the man with the lovely Tennessee accent whose daughter is a biology major at Brown, and climbed into the overhead rack with his pillow to sleep away the night. Why didn’t I think of that?

Someone was escorted out of the train in the middle of the night, someone was searched, body and bag, before finally being let on at Dallas, sniffer dogs were doing their duty while ignoring the little hands of wandering four-year-olds, and I have learned to ID plain clothes operatives as they sweep the cars at night with their little flashlights. I’m glad I look so harmless.

I added another three people to our group mailing list, gave another of my Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbooks to two jolly conservative Bible-Belt navy veterans, and received an invitation to go out to the Hopi reservation for horseback riding, photography and maybe a little movie making.

As an aside, the first videocast that we will make at the Peach Clubhouse will focus on the life of dirt/soil. It applies directly both to the Fracking Tour that will be brought to College Station in June by the Texas Drought Project, and our own Monsanto project. More on those later.

This coming Friday I will bring some of the podcast of the workshop to our 3 pm meditation session at the Peach house. I won’t be there in the morning. Have to take the computer to the Apple store before the end of warranty.

We all learned a lot about quite a number of things and that is always fun. Probably I’ll do it again, on this same train, only heading out west!