Amtrak’s Cardinal lumbered past the sleeping trees of West Virginia’s mountains. I sat in my compartment — feet propped up on the seat facing mine with Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited in my lap. The car rocked back and forth on the rails — our passenger train but an interloper on these smooth coal lines.

I drank in the faded November beauty. Flurries fluttered about in the tremendous gusts of air generated by the train…