Wednesday, August 6, 2014

From the Platform

I was running a bit late to catch my train, however, I just managed to board at Trento station about a minute before all doors were closed and the train was off to Verona. Because the day was already getting hot and I was quite anxious to purchase my ticket and find my way through the sprawling station overflowing with people, I never was able to relax with the time pressure that I was under, even when I finally managed to find my assigned seat and stow my suitcase in the overhead luggage rack. For the next hour my body swayed along with the clackity-clack of the train but I never did find my rhythm. When we arrived in Verona, I still had about a 30 minute wait until my connecting train to Venice arrived.

Given that I had a few moments, I found an empty bench and tried to reclaim a bit of peace, to come back to equilibrium. When I finally came out of myself and looked up, a train to Munich was just getting ready to leave. The conductors at the entrances to the train cars blew their whistles to give the signal to close the doors and the engineer leaned out the window to get a last visual before pulling away from the station. I watched many a tearful spouse, relative, and friend searching to find their loved ones aboard for one last wave, one last blown kiss, one last mouthed goodbye. Some of those on the platform were laughing and joyful, as they shared a final bit of fun with those they were seeing off. Others were anxious and misty-eyed as they said their farewells. I could feel the emotion up and down the platform.

Scenes like these are familiar to all of us. Most of us who have been around for a while have fully experienced the emotions from both sides of the window. Sometimes we are on-board looking out and looking ahead. Sometimes we are left on the platform looking in and looking back.