The train is a steel beast, groaning and sighing with the trials of an ever-changing landscape. Sometimes it is a mellow beast, one that creeps along steadily and surely, lulling you into a sense of peace. But it is also a fretful beast, one that is quick to assert its power with one jolt of the rails, a reminder that you are simply a passenger, not an agent.

It is a kind beast. Once you allow yourself to succumb to its rocking, its consistent metal breathing, it will accept you into its journey. It will show you things you have never seen before while simultaneously teaching you a new way of seeing. The landscape rolls by both breathtaking and pleasantly expected, like you have been a part of this land all you your life. It rocks you to sleep with the gentleness of a song and the strength of a guardian. And you do not fear.

It is an honest beast. The train does not shelter you from the realities of the scene, but rather draw your attention to every detail of the rich Americana. In its wake the train leaves dotted towns of lost prosperity, towns that once relied on its creeping roar but now cling to whatever the train can give. Boarded warehouses sit next to gentleman’s clubs and souvenir shops that promise excitement they likely cannot give, meanwhile locals go about their business barely glancing as the beast rumbles by. 

It is a patient beast. It has confidence it will reach its destination with little care as to the means. Despite being seemingly left behind by more modern forms of transportation, it maintains its sense of self; a tortoise in a flurry of hares.

If you are lucky enough to experience the true beauty of the beast, you will not know it for long. They say all good things must end, and this magical experience is no exception. You will part and continue on your journey, each in your own direction.

But you move forward with the comfort that the steel beast is out there, traversing the landscape one heaving breath at a time.