Back on the train. Across the frozen expanse of Champlain, on the far shore (in Vermont, i suppose) there stand pairs of unpainted, worn brick buildings like warehouses from old. But built on the lake’s shore. And four stories skinny. Open gaping doors down towards the bottom, making faces over the layers of frozen precipitation. The ice lasagna. Thin crust.
Thick enough for trucks and snowmobiles and recently erected fishing shacks. Little squares way out in the sea of white. Tracks to and froma ll out across and away, some sort of geometry to it all, i imagine, up at bird’s eye.
Pump, pump, pump of a blackredwhite craft;; Piliated, dipping same-speed and eye-level with me alongside the train’s car.
Something recently, been actually talking to folks. Wroking on my New Resolution. And guess, i’m learning a lot. Yesterday i went and had a huge conversation with the head baker at Potsdam’s CoOp. Guy started as a theatre major a decade ago, when they first ventured. Told me the Bakery’s whole story. Told me that holding major clients was the turning point in the business, that it give them reliable, consistent income.Like accounts with the local university’s food systems. Institutional scale. Seasonal, yet exactly so. Said they came to him. That the baking itself was the easier part, more and more that his job was becoming one of management, specifically the emotions of his staff. Laughed when i suggested the word, emotions.
The five of them, they built the oven, not much capital invested. Told me, the business broke even in five years, that now at ten it is more profitable than the CoOp that started it. Says that his experience with theater allowed him to adapt to the logistics of a bakery naturally. The production;; prepping a set and moving scenes on and offstage. Bit the smile and word ‘interdisciplinary’ off in my mouth.
Cursed while we were talking. And i took note, silently, of course, liking the fact. Means the guy, name was Chris, was comfortable with me, honest and open. Also telling about his personality. Noted th frames of his glasses while he was talking. They were color like a kaleidoscope.
The polarized light bathing the far ridge transfixes. Rocks reaching out through the snow to get painted in an ochre dusk. Keeps my head jerking up and down from page to glass, gazing out. You see things, if you look. Like Scandinavian shores, small wooden houses, hidden in the trees coming down to water’s edge. Isolated. Must be such a strong mindset to retreat to a place like that, to live out and alone.
Lake Champlain. There’s French people in Wisconsin. New York State too. The kind lady trainofficer, ticket puncher and slick glossy cap, name of Christine. Spoke with her in the bobbing jostling railcar, then again in that hallway inbetween, where the walls are rubber accordions and our breathe rises in clouds.
Christine walked past my seat later, gave me a map. Said that ridership is going up nationwide. People are starting to recognize the value of the train, the beauty of it. The convenience. Making it viable. A contender. Good. Told me the Federal government subsidizes parts of Amtrak’s operation, certain legs of the track. For example, it’ll cost you the same sixty-two dollars to travel from New York to