Sunday, December 07, 2008

Regarding Trips by Train, and also Being Alone

I'm on a train while I'm writing this - the 4:09 from Baltimore to Philadelphia - two cities that members of my family call home. My sister and I grew up just outside of Philly in a little suburb called Wayne and now she's a psych major at Johns Hopkins and I'm still in high school. I was visiting her this weekend (the second in December), and now I'm headed home. It's a Saturday evening; the train is quiet.

Outside, it's snowing. It started about an hour ago at ultimate practice and now we're in the thick of it; the sky is gray and the air is foggy and filled with flakes. This kind of weather makes for good traveling along the Northeast Corridor - the forests look empty without leaves, dark branches silhouetted against a light background. When we're lucky enough to pass over a body of water, the gray surface turns the same shade of gray as the sky; the horizon disappears, leaving only a solid gray wall.

We'll be pulling into Wilmington in a moment.

In the seat in front of me are a young woman and her son. She is reading and he is cutting out little Christmas trees out of green construction paper. I cannot help but admire the attention he is devoting to his task.

The fog is letting up a little bit, and the sky is darkening. The train begins passing through more residential areas.

I am riding alone. I like to ride alone, even though I don't do it much. I visited my sister once last year, but other than that I don't think I've ridden alone. I know that there will be no shortage of times in my life when I travel lone. I think it's something of a rite of passage. It's pleasant enough to be in solitude; as young children, we don't get much in the way of being alone. We're with people: our parents, our teachers, our chaperones. As adults, we're alone all the time. We take the bus alone. We go to our jobs alone. We fall asleep alone. If we're lucky we get married or we have children - we get people so we don't have to be alone, but even with people we have to be alone sometimes. Adults have to be alone sometimes. It's just the way things are.

Solitude is nice. Right now I'm feeling okay about being alone. The bottom line is this, though: being alone is okay, but being with people is better. I'm taking this train because I wanted to visit my sister in Baltimore and now I'm headed home on a Saturday night because I want to see my friends and tomorrow I'm performing in a concert because I want to be with people and to sing with people and to show off for people.

The Christmas lights around here sure are pretty. I wish you could see them.


Frances said...

very nice, calming piece.
it kind of made me wish i was alone on a train going somewhere while it was snowing...but then i'd probably be freaking out a little if that happened xD

Esteban said...

This reminds me of your older posts, when you'd ramble on about watching TV or something, back in middle school. It's a good alternative to all those short stories...sometimes they're a little overwhelming anyway.

nessa (wicked!)

Carissa said...

it was very relaxing...

Jedi_Raptor07 said...

Wish I was there. I love trains.

The Muffin Man. said...

ooh magical
trains are fun
and so is snow
it is nice :}D

Jeff said...

and very relaxing.

nice job!


Anonymous said...

i'd like to comment on this thru e-mail, but you don,t read them so i'm forced to gush in public. i like all your stuff;even the ones i don't get[anti jeff]. this one is great and not much there for an editor to improve.

Your mom said...

I love the last sentence. It may seem obvious but it also captures that perfect, lonely feeling that comes from not having the person you want to share things with, with you to share things with.
sorry about all the withs.