Friday, January 21, 2011

there and back again

Finally at home again from a trip to California, to be visiting with my parents at my sisters home in Rancho Palos Verdes. A day and a half journey, from Union Station in Portland, by train all the way down to Union Station in Los Angeles...

Even in this weary faded end of the age of rail travel, there is something so very civilised to travel safely, smoothly, in spacious seating. There area only two things in life that I want to be fast - my sewing machine, and my internet connection. If the instantaneous transport of science fiction dreams is not available, then let travel be a bit slower, a bit more of a journey, a transition between there and back again.
Coming down from Paso Robles (the Pass of the Oaks) to San Luis Obispo, we wind back and forth, through rolling hills descending, through contours green and soft as the Green Lady herself. What if, instead of our world turning all to profit, we had decided instead to choose harmony and beauty? What if the patina on the land was one of careful use and healing care?
It was good to visit, as my last trip there was almost ten years ago. My young nephews are now men. Probably the best thing was getting a chance to connect with my sister G more deeply. Though we were estranged for a good chunk of my younger years, we have been developing a solid friendship as adults, in spite of the differences in our chosen lifestyles. On this visit, we worked together on two small re-upholstery projects for her house, and were so pleased with the results that we signed the bottom of the ottoman.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

The trip home allowed me to see the prettiest landscapes that the Coast Starlight travels through (heading south they were all after nightfall).
. .
The coach seats are large and they are set far enough apart that I could only reach the folding tray table and footrest by sitting on the edge of the seat. There are electric outlets at all the seats, and at the tables in the lounge car; with my notebook and sketchpad, I felt like an anachronism surrounded by laptops and other electronica. There were folks of all sorts on the train, an entire spectrum of age and race, and reasons for travelling that way; I was fortunate to have a double seat all to myself, so was able to curl up mostly horizontal and nap for parts of the nighttime. Really the trip was much less grueling than I'd feared, and had there been funds for a roomette, (rather than travelling coach), my only small hardship would have been erased.

As we gradually made our way towards Portland, there was no reason to change my reply to my brother-in-law, who asked me if I'd ever travel by train again - I'd choose rail travel again in a heartbeat. The woman I spoke to in the dining car put it well, this way the traveling is part of the vacation...

so glad to be returning ...

... to the clouded skies of home

1 comment:

  1. love what you wrote about slow and train travel.