The train sits. After an hour the sun rises over the hills, the light angling softly into the car. Donnie rolls a cigarette, and the smoke rises in the sunlight in little curling dragons. Another hour passes. Jodie reads a book. Steve stands on the track and juggles stones. Angel sews a leather pouch. Donnie tags the wall of the car with a Sharpie. He writes his name, and then "To Love/Is to Sacrifice/To be Loved/Is to Cherish!" After another hour a southbound hotshot speeds past. The air brakes on our train hiss, then click and squeak. The boxcar shivers. Its walls moan, and the green world glides slowly by outside the door.
Note to the curious: Like driving automobiles, falling in love, and speaking your mind in public, train-hopping is dangerous. Really.
To view more of West Coast Virginia Slim's train-hopping images, visit her site..