Returning to 1998 in Sacramento it was the first long stop on the return trip and I had hoped for a sunny morning two hour stroll. But it was pouring rain, I still found the highlight beaming in Benjamin’s gentle eyes. We spoke for a couple hours of life, his living on the streets. He was a true ambassador for the city telling me about the arts and progress Sacramento was making, and he was pleased with how much he had improved his own life in the previous couple years. Not a bitter word was spoken much can be learned from his positive attitude. I did and often revisit this print when I need a lift. He asked for nothing, but insisted on holding the energy bars in the photo as a way of thanking me.
Just before dawn, just before coffee bleary travelers at Sacramento Station
A Tall Ship Petty Officer
and a young women with an old Canon film camera and a pen.
August 19th 5:55am we are awakened by the conductor as we arrive in Sacramento. Just an early am blur dragging baggage real and inner we wander into the station lost in the world of anachronisms of tickets and signs. “Where’s coffee?” There isn’t a warm and welcoming presence that Benjamin provided a decade ago but after a cup of Joe or two people begin to chat and wait for connections mine is a bus here for a short ride to another train. As I write a women asks about my journal, the community [that is a little less formed on the southern route due to many different routes and changes from train to bus] begins to emerge again. She had taken this train fifty years earlier. She says this will be her last trip. I say me too, a decade later the body isn’t as comfortable bouncing along the rails. Daylight is still magic but the nights are too long. Twenty one hours to Rees in Flagstaff, dawn arrives and the magic returns. I am the rectangle! A mirror wandering around reflecting the soul of a nation. The meeting of Rees in Flagstaff will be creative moment one that has been planned, postponed and rescheduled at a few different locations for 5 years will happen in less than a day. Flagstaff will be that moment.
The journey blossoms anew fresh air and warm sun, the magic returns in a wave of exposures. A Tall Ship Petty Officer in a Mod hat at first taken back by my interest in shooting her wakes to the magic and offers a smile. What a grand life it must be on the sea, living in a different century. On the platform a young women from a family of artists strikes up a conversation about my old Nikon. She still uses film and a pen to write her poetry. We ride the bus together and I talk her ear off sharing some of my writing reading some of hers, listening to her stories of moving to California from Canada. On to another bus and four hours in LA. enjoy pjc