Saturday, February 28, 2004

Between Trains 

Paddington Station, early yesterday morning. A place of transit, of interchange, of bustle, of intent not yet fulfilled; people going places, passing through, coming from somewhere, travelling to somewhere else. A place perhaps to catch your breath and rest awhile, but not a place to stay for very long.

Here I sit; the first stage of a journey over, waiting for a train to take me on the next stage. Just a short trip across country, but a pleasant change from the usual routine, and having made a rather half-hearted and unsuccessful attempt to catch a train that left really far too early in the morning, I now have time whilst I wait for the next one to watch the world go by, and all too rare time to think.

A cleaner shuffles past, lethargically pushing a broom moving the litter along. People pass by - a purposeful stride that says I know where I'm going; multiple suitcases telling that this is just one leg of lengthier trip; hugs of greeting as journeys intersect and combine. A few moments later the cleaner passes again, on the same route, with the same broom, probably pushing the same litter. Stuck in perpetual loop of time, going nowhere.

And maybe I'm sitting at a point of interchange of another journey too. Already set out from the relative comfort and familiarity of home and travelled the first stage, this is a time and place of reflection, of choice, of planning. So many place names beckon; but can I afford a ticket? Previous travels have largely been a matter of jumping on the first train that came by; travelling with purpose requires more preparation. So is this just one of many day trips, always returning home again at night? Or a vacation - a temporary break from routine? Or should I be planning an expedition - or maybe even emigration?

The journey metaphors are endless; I could go on for pages. Whichever I choose, I don't want to sit here too long or I'll get stuck in an endless loop like that cleaner...

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