Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Good Morning Mississippi

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It’s mid morning in mid March 2012. My wife and I are aboard Amtrak’s City of New Orleans en route to the train’s namesake city for a spring break vacation. We are about midway there.

Our sleeper is in the last car on the train so I peek out the back door at the flat Mississippi Delta country after we return from having breakfast.

The skies are mostly cloudy with some peaks of sun. It has been raining and it will rain some more before we exit the Magnolia State.

Aside from disembarking during station stops at Jackson and Greenwood, I’ve never been on the ground in Mississippi. I’ve never stayed overnight within the state’s boundaries, never had a meal in a restaurant here aside from an Amtrak dining car. I’ve never even driven in the state.

I am sure there are many wonderful places to visit in Mississippi. But that is likely to case in many other states that I’ve traveled through by train or flown over in a plane without visiting.

Traveling by train does provide a sense of having visited a place due to the measured pace at which the train travels. Mississippi is a long state and it takes the City of New Orleans a good six hours to traverse it.

Because most of the journey is made in daylight I’ve been in Mississippi long enough to get a sense for what it is like—at least along the former Illinois Central Railroad tracks.

It is a journey I’ve made four times, three of them in the past five or six years.

Maybe someday I’ll get off the train and really visit Mississippi. Until then, most of what I know about Mississippi I learned through the window of a train.

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