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Perspective: The railroad tracks are calling

Peter H

At my age I still get restless sometimes. You know ... the desire to see what's over that hill.

Explore and discover.

It's easy to romanticize wanderlust, as Edna St. Vincent Millay did in her poem “Travel."

"The railroad track is miles away, / And the day is loud with voices speaking, / Yet there isn't a train goes by all day / But I hear its whistle shrieking.

"All night there isn't a train goes by, / Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, / But I see its cinders red on the sky, / And hear its engine steaming.

"My heart is warm with the friends I make, / And better friends I'll not be knowing; / Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, / No matter where it's going."

Finding that poem stirred up memories of my dad and his crazy dream of moving our family to Alaska.

I felt a similar itch when I was much younger. I fantasized about saddling up a motorcycle and galloping across the country. You know ... Jack Kerouac stuff, like from his book "On The Road." Or all those Corvette TV adventures on "Route 66.”

But … that didn’t happen. For my dad or me. And we both got over it, but I do connect to that poem.

There are times, while waiting for a train to rattle past, that I nestle into the rhythmic roll and clank of metal wheels on tracks crossing my path.

And as the last car passes and grows smaller in the distance, something deep inside me wants to go with it.

I’m Lonny Cain … and that’s my Perspective.

Lonny Cain, a graduate of the journalism program at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, has been in the newspaper business for more than 45 years. He and his wife have three sons. They live in Ottawa, where he was managing editor of the local daily newspaper for 30 years, retiring in December 2014. He continues to be a columnist for The Times in Ottawa and is pursuing other writing projects.