3:05 AM - outside Fargo, I am sick of the southern floods. More than a few traces of snow smatter the fields and cars as we enter town. Wandering tracks that look like Andy Goldsworthy was imitated – by God or maybe Moses have broken the frozen top-layer of snow. My body cries for sleep. My mind is resistant. I’ve waited too long, pretending to be North, to rest now.
A few hours backwards - in Milwaukee, the passenger manifest changed starkly from black to white. The matter-of-fact division was unnerving. As we enter the Dakotas, I’ve been a train traveler for twenty-one hours. The trip from St. Louis to Chicago was hellish. I’ll relive it in reverse next week. Is there an opposite to hell?
I’m listening to Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová through a single headphone. I leave one ear reserved for the sounds of my wife and daughter breathing as they sleep despite the rush of rain now sheeting the train. Thunder slaps the sky above the coach car; the lingering winter clap does not stir them to recovery in this lost northern spring. Moments require soundtracks; I was raised to be entertained. Bob Dylan carried me across Illinois and then again we conquered the face of Minnesota (his lost homeland), together. With the flat wet Minnesota terrain behind me I encounter only more unregistered tundra on the rails of North Dakota. My Montana is in the distance, though Washington is the final destination – I now rely on the melodies of an Irish and Czech duo to get me there. I can’t ignore the fact that I am an immigrant myself - in this adopted northern country; relying on the voices of fellow-foreigners in one-half of my head.
We’ve pulled away from the last remaining lights… a remembrance of civilization outside Fargo. The entire world has gone dark – except the single reading light above my head. While the other passengers sleep, I can only find dreams with open eyes. - North