pass of stars, we strike tlie equipment andnreturn to our hotel for a few hours’ sleep.nWe’re up in time for a 9:00 A.M. breakfast.nAll the tapes from the shoot are nestlednsafely in the van, and we’re on ournway home. A five-day road trip, a projectndepicting this fine obsession, producednby a compulsion of our own.nMy great-grandfather was a railroadnman, the first person ever to collect a pensionnfrom the Pere Marquette Railroad.nThere were others in my family, too:ngreat uncles, oddly assorted cousins.nDennis, the videographer and real producernof this project, has a more recentnhistor}’ with trains. He even helped operatenthe very locomotive we’ve taped thisntrip: the little oil-fired Saginaw LumbernCo. Engine No. 2. After its lumber years,nNo. 2 ran the rails north of Cadillac as anhobby train. Dennis and his father werenvolunteers on the crew up there. Beforenour trip, Dennis described (in horriblendetail) the tendency of the little engine tonblow fire out of the fire box and into thencab when the oil regulation was less thannperfect. We saw it happen around ournankles but escaped unsinged. Dennis’sngrandfather was a section IJOSS up north,nkeeping up his mile of track. That wasnhis life’s work.nDennis goes so far in his foaming thatnhis office — really his editing studio — is an1927 Grand Trunk Western caboose. Itnis a cramped—but fun —place to work.nThat’s where we’re heading now, back tonMichigan: Dennis to his house on thenhill below the studio; Jay, to his countr)’nhouse; I, to my home along the GrandnRiver.nWe’re tired but happy as we makendesultory chat about the trip. We alwaysncome back to the bar and the dancers,nand I vow—silently —that I’m going tontake lessons with my wife, lessons thatnwill let us move in time, gracefully, to thenLIBERAL ARTS-nBEAT DOWN BY THE MANnbeat of a band like the Mellotones.nI want to dance at LaRue.nDavid B. Schock writes from GrandnHaven, Michigan.nLetter From Arizonanby Wilma GustinichnVoice in the Desertn”And when they heard the voice of thenLORD God walking in paradise at the afternoonnair, Adam and his wife hid themselvesnfrom the face of the LORD God,namidst the trees of paradise.”nI had always imagined God walkingnlike a whisper in the Garden of Eden, thenpower of His existence clearing a path beforenHim. In Tucson, in the summer. Hendoes not walk quietiy.nAt first, one might miss the beginningnof His approach. The only warning is anmeager flash of light in the distance.nThere is no sound, only a sharp line tonetch the horizon. The air is heasy withnheat, and at sundown the darkness glidesnslowly, soundlessly between die droopingnmesquite trees and transfixed saguaros.nThe birds and lizards have disappeared.nThe tarantula has covered her hole. Theninsects are nowhere in sight. Expectancynrides upon the passing minutes.nSuddenly, a larger flash lights up thenunderbelly of distant black clouds, a preludento a soft rumble like the footsteps ofnan approaching giant. Soon the flashesnbecome arrhythmic staccatos of lightnfrom one end of the horizon to the other.n”Accused of robbing a bank in Hempfield, Pa., Bkiine Gamble, 60, claimed ‘culturalninsanit)” as a defense, explaining that 44 years of oppression by wlnites had drivennhim insane and ‘ruptured his psychic core.’ During jur’ selection, U.S. DistrictnJudge William L. Standish informed Gamble that if he intended using an insanit)’ndefense he would have to admit he robbed the bank. Gamble balked and deniednhaving robbed the bank. A jur’ convicted him, and he was sentenced to 13 ‘ears innprison.n—from the Bloomington Independent (August 17, 2000).n40/CHRONICLESnnnand the low rumble becomes louder, anconstant throb like the sound of a marchingnarmy. The plants wait. He is coming.nHe is walking slowly in His desert Eden.nHe parts the air before Him, and theyntremble. The flashes become more brilliantnand dart across the horizon like anmysterious code filling the sky. They impressnthemselves upon the eye and linger,nrevealing the silhouettes of trees and tallncacti swaying with each flash. Suddenlynthe rustling leaves undulate violendy, uncontrollably.nBranches flagellate eachnother, and a blinding light seems to cue anwind that threatens to uproot trees andnhouses. I grip the paho railing to keepnmyself erect. I look up just as a violentncrack sends terrifying reverberationsnthrough the earth and up through mynfeet and legs, and I imagine the earthnopening beneath nie.nOverhead, a terrifying, brittle detonationnaccompanies a blinding light asnthough the sky has broken open and Henis about to speak. In an instant, the heatnof Hell is transformed, and a skin-splithngnbombardment of ice pummels thenearth and threatens to destroy the windowsnof my meager shelter. I receive thenmessage: Pride rightly belongs only to thenOne Wlio programs nature’s laws. Thencify is insignificant; its shelters as nothing.nThe bare desert matters with its indomitablenrules of life and death.nHe is overhead now, and I feel asnthough I am somewhere deep withinnHis chest as He roars in some eternal language.nOver and over He repeats thencracks and rumbles of a power I sensenmay never be understood by man.nRain falls softly at first, in litde dropsnthat tap lightly against the window pane.nAlmost imperceptibly, others drop, onenby one, to be devoured in an instant bynparched rocks. But soon an explosionnoverhead unleashes a deluge; in an instant,nrivulets become streams, which becomenmad, rushing torrents that transportnrocks and dust and desert detritus fornunknown distances to become lost in thenfolds of other migrahng refuse, all followingna mysterious trajectory to an unknownnend.nBut I remain here, watching the swirlingnwater purify the earth, listening as Hienlightning fades and the thunder driftsnaway. After a time, His voice becomes anfading whisper, and the desert becomesnsilent as a memory. I am left alone, anthirsfy pilgrim awaiting His return.nWilma Gustinich writes from Tucson.n