...suddenly it was as if I stepped into a clearing where my spirit was set free. Home, the root that grounds the soul, had come unplugged from "place". There I lay on the cold rusty steel bed of a piggy-back freight, wrapped in what was left of my frayed sleeping bag..... feeling cozy, at peace and complete. Not a soul in the universe knew where I was, yet I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather be with than me. I had found home... on the road.... in what I would come to call, "The Drift". And from that moment forward, I would pack myself up every morning and head for the nearest rail yard to catch-out any damn place I pleased...moving, always moving, but toward, no longer away from, life.
In 'The Drift', my life exists within a moment in a stream of moments. If I was happy where I was, I saw no reason to rush off. There were no plans and no destinations. I couldn't get lost because I wasn't going anywhere in particular...and I was never late to nowhere. Folks who liked me or didn't like me did so for who I was in that moment. I had nothing to live up to or live down...there was no resting on my laurels but no baggage to carry either. Guilt, the heaviest load of all... had evaporated.
America became my big back yard. I traversed the country; catching freight trains like most New Yorkers catch taxi-cabs. There wasn't a city in the nation that didn't see me as a local. And yet, I was a visitor everywhere I traveled...peering, as a guest of the dark, at the faint blue light of late night TVs, reflecting through the windows of passing prairie farm houses and big city tenements.
I owned the horizon, the sunsets, the sunrises, and the trees but I never paid a dimes worth of taxes. I contributed zero to the gross national product, but everything I owned to the gross national spirit.