Yesterday Monsieur Petite Etoile took his very first train ride at Roaring Camp in Felton, California.
Anthony and I both rode this very same narrow gauge rail when we were tiny tots.
I was trying to figure out if it was possible that tiny Pennsylvania me and slightly taller California he traveled together on the same day some thirty-odd years prior...
Not likely, for sure.
As the children of train buffs this was a very emotional experience, which certainly took me by surprise-
when the little engine came around the first corner into full view
my throat constricted and I was overcome with a wave of nostalgia
and the sense of a very tall ghost with a big mustache and a booming laugh...
In sharing train rides with Orion, Anthony and I are honoring our dads
and our memories of being shorter than the wheels of giants
of going ninety miles per hour in the family grocery-getter to catch that engine at the next crossing
sitting in the way-way back of the station wagon with our cousins singing "Dumm dumm dada, da dum dum dada, da dum dum daddatadum da dum dada"
and making poop jokes
hearing the crunch of gravel under our tennies as we explore the tracks
within the sight of our own parents...
I cannot even look at these pictures without a lump in my throat
because some of the people I would have most wanted to share this trip with are scattered at midpoints and far-flung coasts of this great country
or even farther than the mind can conceive
(but close enough to somehow feel..)
but the most important participant of all was Orion's sense of wonder at the world around him
in those scented Redwood trees chugging up the mountain
and the switcheroo of being parents to this great soul
taking his first train ride
in our arms.