Ah, the romance of trains! The mystery of where they are going and where they have been. The ceaseless rolling of the wheels and the rocking of the cars. The rhythm of the chukkuh chukkuh chukkuh of the paired axels crossing the roadbed. The endless crisp straightness of the rails and the repetition of the ties as they disappear into to point of perfect perspective. We rode trains, from Illinois to North Dakota to visit family. We saw secret sides of towns and back road views of farms and remote stretches of wild nature. We watched the afternoon light disappear and stars come out as we rolled between towns. The motion of the cars rocked us to sleep. Eventually, though, you run out of people you feel you can ask to get up in the middle of the night to meet you at the train station, so we went back to driving on our visits ‘back home’. But still, as I wait for the long long train to clear the road, I am a little nostalgic about trains we rode and trains I never rode that have been crossing the country for decades on their secret determined missions. Though today, I suspect, the beginning and ending of this particular train’s journey is less romantic that I might be imagining, for it carries car after car of coal, probably originating in some horrible mining region where nature is sacrificed for the convenience of our energy consumption and its destination some equally horrible place where it is burned in some pollution producing process. Well, slam! back to the real world.