Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflections on trains and my future

Bicycles, footpaths, and trains. When I say that I love to travel, I don't necessarily mean visiting distant places. This evening, on my weekly train ride back from Bremen, I was sitting in my corner of the bench reading with the late afternoon sun pushing its way between two clouds to make its final inspection of the fields. Often either by the morning train or my return in the late afternoon I am struck with the romantic history of riding in trains. Countless hours of scenery punctuated by rustic roads and the occasional town; no wonder authors traveled so much, it seems to evoke creativity and reflection. As I rode my bike slowly homeward past the river, I found myself savoring the quietness of a cool evening on the waterfront. The sun was just about to set so I left my bike in the garage and took my usual (though of late not so oft traveled) path through the neighborhood and toward the nearby wooded footpaths. There is a particular place almost directly across a field from the back of my house where the trees on the footpath break and you can wander through this charming field. The adjoining field is usually a fenced emptiness, but tonight they had opened the gate and let the horses wander into it. I sat down to watch the clouds color that vivid pink which I despise in nearly everything but sunsets, and found myself crying. Not that today was sad or difficult in any particular way, or even generally overwhelming. The downpour of emotion had something to do with the kind curiosity of the mare as she ambled toward my seat and the incredible uncontainable beauty that I was observing on the horizon both of which made me feel a little lost and a little alone. In coming to Germany I, for the first time, took very deliberate and even motivated steps. I don't regret being here at all. But in those moments when I try to imagine my future beyond this year I get anxious and bewildered. It is not that I have an absence of dreams or hopes. They are there; but I am so quick to criticize my own dreams as unpractical, silly, or even overly ambitious. Then the sun set, the mare moved back to her mate and my tears dried. I don't know what I will do with my life, but I do know that I will continue to search, to create, and to love those people I love ever more deeply. I know that I will because these things I cannot help but do.


Teal said...

beautiful post, Val.

(I like trains too. They have many virtues, not the least of which is that I don't get motion sick when riding them)

jim d said...

Hi Valerie,

I just finished a book entitled: 'The False Inspector Dew', by Peter Lovesey. Amy had read it and suggested I might like it. Which, I did. It's a little crazy. Prior to it, I can't remeber the last book I read as I mainly read vicariously through Amy. She consumed books. Although this is more an e-mail comment, Johnathon's last day of work is Sept 30. Talk about turnover! Okay, oh wait, #7 Harry Potter is another book I read this summer. Aufwiedersehen Valerie
jim d