Its Not Always About the Destination

I took a trip by train to a destination more than eight hours away.Most comments heard were “Ugh, why don’t you fly, it’s much quicker.”Full agreement from me, however one of my travel companions preferred not by air.“Think of the scenery, the conversation and the fun, in addition to the fact that I’d never ridden a train before.All of which went into “selling” me on the mode of transportation.

I planned my carry-on bag with things to wile away the time; a good read, knitting, laptop with movies, snacks in addition to the promised camaraderie.Napping too was always an option.As I snuggled up to the warm pillow of my companions shoulder, anticipating dozing, I found my eyes wandering to the scenery just outside my window and my ears tuning to a very different music than conversation.Listening to the rhythmic clicking of the wheels, and the often, though distant sound of the train whistle lulled me into comfortable contemplation.

Moving peacefully by my window were the unsung scenes of Rural America.Flat, open, snow-covered fields dotted here and there with solitary trees.Frozen creeks rippling through the fields unhurried by time, cutting their paths unhindered.Weather worn farmhouses with smoke lazily floating in the cold December sky told brief tales of the families who lived there. Brightly colored winter toys waiting for the child to return for play. Livestock lazily foraging for their winter hay.Pets playing and keeping watch while the family was away.

As we passed through small towns, which seem to spring from no-where, I found myself wondering who lived there.The girl who came out of the bank across the street, was she born and raised in this small area?The small Mom and Pop shops, how did they survive in the economy?The cheerful Christmas decorations, who was it who put them out in the cold? Was their life’s pace slower than my own?Did they grow accustom to the sounds of the train as it passed so close to their homes?Did it lull them to sleep or keep them awake?

My mind inevitably wandered to other thoughts.Too often in life we look towards the destination, neglecting to enjoy the ride.We wait for the next “big step” in our life.Getting married – forgetting to enjoy our single life.Parenthood - missing the details of journey of becoming two.The birth of a child, missing what trip pregnancy is not only for the woman but for her mate.Waiting for the children to pass a specific stage of childhood – a childhood in which not only part of the journey, but a witness to theirs. Hardest of all, our career or work life – missing many small pleasures, accomplishments and personalities (good and bad) along the way.

As I continued to watch the scenery unfold in it’s simply beauty, I vowed to myself to enjoy the ride. Not only this ride on this train, but the journey of my life. Making all attempt to enjoy the trip as well as each destination along the way.

Avie Layne 2012