After The Blue Moon, What Next?
I had a little time in Santa Barbara to begin to reflect on this, grabbing a smoke, the last smoke break on the Coast Starlight, New Years Day, on my way home to Los Angeles. Yea, I’m still smoking, we were let off in the rocks, the train was long, traffic was blocked. Not to change the subject, so I’m sitting here at home, trying to write this story, and my cat, here we go, cat stories from an Old Man, anyhow, she wants to play. She’s not your normal cat, Yea, Yea, Yea, No, I’m serious, she likes to fetch, she likes to fetch a lot. When she’s ready, she sits beside me, her wound up piece of raw hide lace, at rest, at her feet, and then she ROARS. So back to smoking cigarettes in the rocks, the traffic blocked by the longer than usual train, the people in their cars, waiting, watching, sitting in their cars, blocked, I wonder what they thought, the inconvenience caused to them, by our habit? We had quite a Festive New Year Celebration on the train, we had all been warned, all day long, anyone intoxicated on the train, would be put off. Miles, the chicken farmer and I, worked our way up to the observation car, and then down, into the cafe, about 11:40pm. I think the conductors were scared, of celebrations getting out of hand, I think the passengers were all scared, of being put off, everyone was bridled back. Except for the nine of us, who had all spit the bit, most passengers on the train, were mostly sleeping. Meeting Miles, my roommate so to speak, for the journey South from Portland, was just one of many aspects, on my cross country train trip, to work out right, an interesting guy this chicken farmer. I guess I need to say a little something about his little chickens, he raises miniature chickens, not much more than a mouthful, he raises them for show. Well, I’ve got a story for every occasion, so I tell him about an old friend, who grew up on a chicken farm, 1950s, North Carolina. The story goes, there was a rooster in the yard, that had laid an egg, his father killed the rooster, this old friend of mine was young, he asked his father why, why did he kill the rooster? he said his father told him flatly, “I don’t want my kids growinup round no funny chickens.” Now here’s a segueway for ya, Miles and I have dinner reservations for 5:15, we go up to the observation car early, the sun is setting out, across the pacific, as we roll through Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a pristine coastline, a coast line I have always wanted to photograph. This was working perfect, the sun was setting, as we traveled across the base. There are times, when I will see a photograph, usually a color photograph, where the image looks as if the colors had been severely shifted, manipulated by one special process or another. If I had been out for this sunset, in this place, with my camera, and I had some color film, I would have one of those photographs. The tracks take a turn west, out by Point Conception, the ocean comes in big here, the farthest point west on the California Coast. Have you ever seen the sun mushroom out across the ocean as it dropped beneath, that last blast of light, as the sun dips below the horizon. Not every night this happens, conditions, the wind, the air, the sea, all need to be just right. I’ll begin to end this babble by just saying this, the color!!!. So…, Everything is working out perfect, we are called into the dining car, seated with a young asian couple, students. The four of us watch the subtle colors grow as night takes hold. The moon, I guess, still a full moon, rises from the east, now this is where everything is going so perfect! Our dinners are served, we all eat, Miles may have been a bit bothered by my menu selection, I had to go with chicken. We finish up, we pay our bills, we get some coffee from the cafe car, then the train stops. We had arrived in Santa Barbara, our smoke break, perfect, we had just finished dinner, got some coffee, and now we were getting a smoke break, ya know, sometimes, somethings, just all seem to work out right!