My Need For Trains

This is a tale of the Wanderlust, that restless longing that is like a physical pain, the longing understood only by those who feel it.... It is a sudden disease that attacks one, this wish just to move on, to go, no matter where if we be but going, the sort of feeling that makes it a positive danger to watch a moving railroad train or to see a ship leave her dock. ~Grace Isabel Colbron, book review of The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis, 1915

Don't you know you've got a chance of seeing the world? You're one of the lucky people that can have a touch of the wanderlust without being made useless by it. You may wander in thought as well as on freight-trains, and discover something of the world. Mostly, young Americans get tied up to something before they see what a big world there is to hike in. Son, son, for God's sake, live in life. ~Sinclair Lewis, The Trail of the Hawk: A Comedy of the Seriousness of Life, 1915

In life we are all rolling stock running on the rails of Destiny, and if we fail to stop when flagged by Fate we miss our freight. On Life's railroad there is only one set of rails and no turntable. But why turn back; the scene improves as we travel onward; or we appreciate it better; that is, those who keep their eyes to the window. But there are some who would rather sleep than peep, and some who are so occupied with their ingrown eyebrows, their over-investments and under-devestments, the price of lead-headed eye-teeth, and the fate of the fat, that they are blind to the beauty of Being. Life should be like a train - eager, pressing forward as if bent on keeping a tryst with Time round the next bend; taking the grades sturdily, and running to Time.... A train is life in little, existence on distance, a fleeting thought, and a forward move. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890-1953), "For Wheel or Whoa," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931 June 1st

An old fellow of the ultra inquisitive order asked a little girl on board the train, who was sitting by her mother, as to her name, destination, &c. After learning that she was going to the City, he asked, "What motive is taking you thither, my dear?" "I believe they call it the locomotive, sir," was the reply. ~The New Joe Miller's Jest Book, Containing a Selection of the Most Laughter-Provoking Witticisms, Comicalities, Yankee Drolleries, Puns, Bon Mots, Repartees, &c., &c., &c., Ever Published, 1865

Commuter: one who spends his life In riding to and from his wife; A man who shaves and takes a train, And then rides back to shave again. ~E.B. White, "The Commuter," Poems and Sketches, 1982

This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder. ~Honore de Balzac, "The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee"

The only way of catching a train I ever discovered is to miss the train before. ~G.K. Chesterton

What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do — especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. ~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways

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