“off the table, Mabel!” says a man on the train

Life transitions are surreal. They remind us that life is short but they also aid in compartmentalizing our lives. I have always been one to connect people and places in my life, trying to avoid stretching myself too thin and also to create community of all the people I love.

At a time of transition, sitting on a moving train from Tacoma to Portland, I contemplate the shifting of my life as real as the forward motions of these wheels on metal tracks. I have just left four close friends in Tacoma, in the basement of a house I have come to know and love, and now head home to Portland, making the final move of person and possessions South. This Amtrak train is an ideal metaphor with which to process my journey forward…

entering the train from the platform as it hisses to a stop. eyes heavy from shed tears, having bid goodbye to good friends that know and love your soul, friends that would embrace you any time of the day. friends that have walked with you for many years. friends that will be at your wedding. the train rolls out of the station and heads through downtown at a clip. it gains speed and clickity clacks down the tracks, the shimmering Puget Sound only feet away. rising global sea levels may push the tracks back with much force- you only wish you could delay your leaving in this way. but alas, this vehicle speeds along at a great clip, barreling away from an area that has been yours for four years and towards one that warms your heart, one that you are even more familiar with. you pass a magnificent bridge that looks like one from your hometown, a contraption of green spires that ascend into the sky and spand the length of the Sound channel below. the water is expansive and deep, a trench of salty water formed by glaciers running through this area thousands of years ago…

Like the train I am riding, I head inevitably forward to my next destination. I may not be able to see it on the other side of the twisting bend in the road or this portion of the journey may be going too fast for me to process all at once, but I can at least concentrate on enjoying the beauty around me, like the Puget Sound out my window while I am carried to my next step. Trains always sooth my nerves- I love viewing a landscape of field or forest or water rushing by through the wide windows next to my crooked elbow. This train ride seems symbolic of many rides to come, at this moment riding away from the Puget Sound which I have lived near, explored, and studied for four years, Southward to new adventures. These many rides to come may include the Seattle-Portland leg once again or maybe I will journey from San Francisco to LA or maybe even New York City to Philadelphia let alone the European rail system. The future seems bright and welcoming, the rails constantly pushing me forward and inspiring me to write.

There are many years ahead of me post-college, but i hope to retain the friendships I have treasured up North, colliding with these people in new contexts and keeping them in my heart always. I hope to read many books, write many of my own pages of stories, drive on many roads and keep off many (no roads!), exchange many kisses, embrace often, travel with just the right mix of plans and sponteneity, sing and listen to many notes uttered and played, drink in new faces and express gratitude to the familiar, wander many beaches, trails, and neighborhoods, eat many homegrown vegetables, and express much love.

What will this next phase of life be like? I wonder.
…Connecting new, old, and older? Home, college, and frontier? Some of my many worlds may clash or already have- family, friends, acquaintances, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, further east, professional, personal, intimate, romantic. How to reconcile my independence with my comfort zone? My desire to be grounded but still move forward with great certainty and purpose? Still be connected to home but allow myself to take great adventures?

Regardless, in this next big leap, I hope to maintain the integrity and the depth that my college experience has inspired within me, using this as a foundation to let my love spill over. If this is my hope, let it be my intention as well, and with that let my good karma send me forward on this train…



8 thoughts on ““off the table, Mabel!” says a man on the train

  1. I think I need to print this out and keep a copy with me at all times for the next three months or so. You are such a beautiful writer and you inpire me so much.

  2. Pingback: written on a Friday afternoon «

  3. Pingback: I dwell in Possibility: a new year «

  4. Pingback: our avian friends «

  5. Pingback: our avian friends | in the midst

  6. Pingback: Time for nothing, time for everything | in the midst

  7. Pingback: Escape from Portlandia | in the midst

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s