Going across the country by rail was a dream I had since childhood when the wail of a train in the night brought fantasies of adventure beyond the prairies and cornfields of Illinois where I live. I was a senior citizen before the dream was realized. In 2008 I booked a trip with Amtrak from Illinois to California. The high point of the trip was to be going through the High Sierra mountains, but searing heat-related engine breakdowns and subsequent moving aside for freight trains made it obvious we would pass through those longed for mountains at night. The surprise came when, as midnight neared, I looked into the sky and saw the most glorious host of stars I have ever seen. The memory still brings tears to my eyes. I remember hearing that in the desert of Israel the stars seem to touch the earth. They could not be more beautiful than what I saw that night. It was a highlight of my trip and a reminder of the canopy of light the Almighty set in the sky to guide and inspire us mortals.
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