Ever since I can remember my family has been driving to Muncie, Indiana from Cleveland, Ohio to visit relatives for selected holidays and other occasions. I have memories of this 5-6 hour, mostly flat and rural drive from many eras of my life. Fun and fights with my sister, minivans, naps, fast food, car games, and more stand out as themes from childhood trips.
Both getting there and driving around the Muncie area I always remember freight trains. Often the grownups would be annoyed at waiting for the seemingly never ending stream of boxcars at a crossing. I always watched, fascinated. Freight trains near my neighborhood in Ohio didn’t cross at grade; so I think I was less aware of them there. At night, staying over at my grandparents’ house, I remember hearing the distant sound of train whistles as the freight passed in the night.
This Thanksgiving the family again drove out to Indiana. On our way we encountered the familiar sight of a freight train crossing our path. The sun shone brightly over this giant piece of machinery rolling through cornfields. I watched it with new, infrastructure-aware eyes, though this rural sight was much different than the urban settings of most of my excursions and everyday infrastructure encounters.
Afterwards, we continued on our way towards holiday celebrations.