Monday, March 13

it's been a long love affair

...between me and transit. I've never had a driving license; I take the bus (or bum rides, errk) wherever I need to go. Or walk. Or bike. Or take the train. I love mass transit, public transportation: what it is, what it means, what it's like. So this summer, an adventure. I'm thinking Greyhound. I'm thinking Amtrak. I'm thinking me, alone, without a computer, back to just the notebook and pen and the wide-open sky as we hurtle westward along another old favorite--the American highway.

Music for the journey--I imagine: Bruce Springsteen (yes, how could I turn down anything about that heady freedom you have at seventeen when you haven't yet realized things can kill people your age, and do?); and probably Josh Ritter (who makes such beautiful music and does the compliment of writing good lyrics); and Iron and Wine for the slow parts, the sad parts; and Natalie Merchant for the waking up and the spooky late-at-night. And Jackson Browne, and Cat Stevens (for crossing the desert, my first time), and Badly Drawn Boy, and now (thanks to Lisa) probably some Neil Young, and I'm sure Ben Folds and Fiona Apple would pop up in there, too--Ben Folds as the stars rise over Nebraska? I can't turn it down! --And always the sounds of other people breathing and the sound of the wheels or the track.

I've looked up prices. Emails have been sent to exotic locales like Portland and Taos and Vancouver. I didn't used to be much of a planner--but I like the way this feels a lot like hope. I like the feeling of thinking to do something and then doing it. I'm getting used to it in my life, these days.

Oh, and since I said I would give a heads-up: There will be four birds up on this weblog on Wednesday morning: a blue, a pink, a yellow, and a teal, all with their very own arrangements of paper flowers, milliner's trims, ribbon, etc. So if that's for you, keep an eye out.


Blogger lisa s said...

sounds like a great trip! perfect escape!! do you have prairie wind? if not i'll send!!

10:29 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

i love that photo.. and thank you for your story.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

Sounds completely exciting and refreshing!

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Oona said...

I don't know if you've heard of/considered traveling by Green Tortoise (, they're a wild travel co. out of SF that do bus tours around the country, up the West coast, and some into Mexico and Alaska. They have old greyhound buses with all the seats torn out and huge platforms built in for zig zag arrangement sleeping, and usually very cool people from all around the world do the trips, which are really cheap and include most food (cooked communal style in the desert, etc.) I've done NY-SF and back a few times, its a great way to travel if you aren't in a hurry and aren't married to showering every day--

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Amanda Woodward said...

that sounds amazing! Your friend Oona mentioned the Green Tortoise in SF, they are amazing, they have an old hostel in the italian section of the city & its just shabby & lovely. I've taken Amtrak cross country from Sacramento to Boston 3 times, all have been amazing & crazy experiances. I've also driven from Boston to Redding, California, which was insane & heart wrenching. May I suggest Tori Amos's "Scarlets Walk", she made a cd that documents her travels around the country, and Doves "Lost Souls", I could burn them for you if your ok with it! AND! Last but not least, I got my BIRDIE!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I wore it this afternoon in my hair & got a bazillion compliments. This is becoming WAY too long! XO

8:51 PM  
Blogger meranie said...

Hey sweetie! I have internet again!

Let me recommend Tori Amos' album Scarlet's Walk for your trip cross-country. It was written about exploring America.. and it's just about my favourite album of hers. I could send you some songs...

10:36 PM  
Blogger eireann said...

oh, all, oh, all,

thank you for sweet thoughts, encouragement, recommendations, willingness to send me music (best present of all).

what if we were to do a cd exchange? hmm. i will write about this tomorrow. just got home from a trip to iowa for the day and i'm beat.

but! lisa, amanda, meranie!! music, yes, please! i have two songs from prairie wind now but would love to hear it all and i have only heard (but i love, i love) "a sorta fairytale" from scarlet's walk. i would love to hear more.

and thank you oona + amanda for the notes about alternate travel. i'll look into it & then email to ask questions, if you don't mind.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous abby said...

ah what fun! You know-I cannot drive either-I refuse! I ride the bus or a bike, it just seems like something I am not destined to do...maybe if I have children. Rail trips are a lot of fun-and I am recent Portland transplant who can tell you it would be a great place to visit.

8:13 PM  
Blogger girlprinter said...

Oooo.... I love the train. I can't listen to Natalie Merchant now without remembering a multi-stop train trip I took all through the Northeast in 1994. I also clearly remember booking my ticket in a old wood-lined phonebooth in the main NY Public Library on 42nd street. But I wasn't knitting then: what a shame! I'd like to get on a overnight train right now and finish some baby shoes.

8:40 PM  

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