Day 4: Field Trip!
Day 4 of my trip, or as I will refer to it from here on out- Kid’s day. The conductor and car steward both warned me of the 40 or so 3rd and 4th graders about to board my car, and even offered to help move me and my belongings if I so chose. I declined their offer. By 10am I was 28 hours into this leg of the trip so I was up for some distraction. Any distraction, really. Anything to break up the eternal landscape of Texas. And when the young 'uns finally boarded, they did not disappoint. They settled into the seats around me and soon I found myself not only surrounded, but also pelted with every question imaginable: Why are you on the train? How old are you? Do you know anyone in Texas? Have you ever seen a white buffalo? Can I borrow your pen? What’s your stuffed monkey’s name?
I did my best to keep up, even when two and three questions flew my way simultaneously. Funny enough though, it was only the adults minding the kids that piqued my nerves. So busy trying to regulate these little balls of curiosity- to sit down and use their inside voices, that I wanted to turn to them and say "The kids are fine. You're the ones missing it!"
Those kids marveled at a lone tree on the horizon, pointed out every hill, every cow, the speed of the train, what it felt like to pass another train- you name it, they awed at it. And for 90 minutes I got to awe right along with them. At the very things I had ignored over and over during the last 28 hours. I owe those kids for helping me find my awe once again.
They've been gone for a few hours now, and I’ll admit that I’m ready for this leg to come to an end. And it will...in 10 hours. There is barely any cushion on the seats, so at times I feel like I'm napping on metal lawn furniture. Sleep deprived doesn't even begin to describe my current state. I edited 66 pages today, so even my brain is tired. I’m ready for a shower, a long walk, a comfy bed, and some healthy food. All of which I’ll find in West Hollywood. But when I first disembark I’m driving straight to Malibu, so I can walk on the beach, and wonder at the ocean, the cliffs, and every sea lion and surfer I pass. I'm going to use my awe, like my new friends today reminded me. I assume those kids will have probably forgotten me by bedtime, but it'll be a long time before I forget about them. Closing the door on an awesome Day 4.