I don't know if I've ever seen so much railroad track as I have in the Chicago area (Chicagoland). Trains are used for transporting cargo and customers, and there is plenty of both here. I had no idea, previously, that Chicago was such a hotbed of railroad enthusiasm. There are platforms for rail buffs to watch trains go by and for taking photos and videos of the passing trains. There are sites dedicated to this hobby and people of all ages enjoy it. There are multiple restaurants dedicated to this theme throughout the area. We visited one last week, All Aboard, in Frankfort. A train delivered our meals to us--how cool! There were trains to watch and trains to play with, plus gear to buy (train whistles, shirts, and hats), and the hamburgers were really, really good.
Having a train enthusiast in our house means that we have to go slowly over tracks so they can see if there are any trains down the way that might be coming if we wait long. It means pulling over to watch trains. It means lots of train books from the library. I'm glad that we've had an abundance of train experiences during our time here. Trains are longer out west and don't interfere with traffic as much--it'll be a different experience. I remember driving from Colorado to Phoenix with our enthusiast when he was very young. The long trains along the way enthralled him and he cried like he was being tortured when we came to the end of each train. I'm so glad he's outgrown that.
These tracks are in Blue Island, IL, a part of Chicagoland. I like the lines of the tracks here. I've learned that diamonds formed by crossing track is a big thing to train buffs. These are diamonds of the rough and rust type -- a metaphor for much of life. Many of life's blessings come to us in rough times and are only recognized as diamonds later. Perhaps this is a modernization of Robert Frost's poem. Instead of two paths in a snowy wood, there are iron tracks over which life travels. Either way, there are always choices to make and diamonds to discover along the way. Some choices require courage, some are made with great anticipation, and others are made most pragmatically. With that said, be both adventurous and safe in your quest for diamonds.