At last, the throngs have headed home. To their families, across the vast valleys, bridle bells jingling softly over the snow.
Your brothers and sisters are here, in the sideshow's kitchen car, where you press your cheek to the windowpane, grinning as the barker's shouts still ring in your ears.
"Little Johnny Atom, a Mere Twenty Inches High!"-whose name is really Joshua and stands at a full 37 inches-leans toward the stove, roasting chestnuts he bought from a woman on a donkey-drawn cart. "The Prussian Giant!", born Henry Nickels in Dayton, Ohio, scrapes sweet, eerie notes from the strings of an old fiddle. Elizabeth, "The Armless Wonder Girl!", demurely stirs her tea, a silver spoon pinched delicately between her pretty painted toes. Sanjiv ("Only a Torso and Head, Ladies and Gentlemen-The Human Worm!"), expecting the birth of his fourth child any day now, puffs thick rings from his cigar. "What Is It-He or She?!"-you can vouch that her name is Rose and she is most definitely a she-sits writing a very long letter in a very tiny script.
Here, smoke curls from the little stove and tattered tinsel glitters on a spindly cut tree, as the train lurches on, rocking you through canyons and pine woods, miniature thatched roofs dotting the hillsides. Here, in this car, you've found a love like you never imagined. Here, you've found home.
Big Top Train 2013 is startlingly beautiful, loves. I've been vague on the description because, frankly, I've kept tinkering with it. But think fresh-fallen snow, just a tiny peek of smoke over treetops, and a hint of sugary lemon. Lovely, if I do say so myself.
2013 focuses on Joshua's stove, Sanjiv's pipe and the wintry woods surrounding. It's my favorite Big Top Train yet.