The Station: Part Three

Breakfast: Photo by Noelle

Breakfast: Photo by Noelle

The clanking of pots caught my attention and I turned to look inside. A gray head bobbed behind the grill; I suspected he was doing prep work. The tables were half set up and the smell of bacon drifted out the cafe window. Listening recently to a lecture with Carol Tuttle, she guided a meditation where you experience the divine through your senses of touch, taste, smell, and so forth. Without hesitation my first thought was that God likely smells of bacon. I smiled sheepishly. I sometimes have deep vegetarian guilt.

Even at 6:30 on a Sunday morning the station is active with movement, though my own eye is more interested in the long angles. Nothing effects our inner clocks so completely than the long angle of sunlight at dawn and dusk. One elicits a feeling of promise, while the other – mystery.

Union Station: Photo by Noelle

Union Station: Photo by Noelle

Union Station and the Moon: Photo by Noelle

Union Station and the Moon: Photo by Noelle

Amtrak: Photo by Noelle

Amtrak: Photo by Noelle

People milled in coffee shops or sat on the benches by the Amtrak ticket window. Newspapers laid in laps or noses were buried deep in phones, while dreams of future destinations stuck out conspicuously from suit coat pockets and overstuffed purses.

The Flower Stand: Photo by Noelle

The Flower Stand: Photo by Noelle

The flower stand was still closed, but full of spring blooms and a rainbow of tissue paper and inexpensive vases. I looked back at my reflection in the glass doors to the refrigerator case. A rose bloom appeared where my mouth should be committing me to only speaking love for the rest of the day.

The Station hotel: Photo by Noelle

The Station hotel: Photo by Noelle

I moved along the perimeter and stopped at the entrance to the hotel. I have never stayed at the Crawford, but the romance of it fills me with a timelessness and magic I haven’t felt in years. The concierge and I share gentle bows of good morning and I move on. I roam about the terminal for the better part of an hour, letting my ghosts wonder the gates and tracks, fingering imaginary maps to infinite destinations. There’s a beauty in not needing to go anywhere. I can simply indulge in the energy of the space without the frantic longing to be on my way. The mindfulness metaphor there is not lost on me. The Power of Now, as Tolle would say. If I stop and breathe deeply I can smell the scent of every train station on this earth, for they all hold decades and even centuries of diesel oil, engine smoke, luggage fibers, coffee grounds, newspaper print, and thousands of hungry soul’s anticipation in their rafters.

The Windows: Photo by Noelle

The Windows: Photo by Noelle

The Terminal: Photo by Noelle

The Terminal: Photo by Noelle

Glitz and Glamour: Photos by Noelle

Glitz and Glamour: Photos by Noelle

I stare at this last photograph on my phone and marvel how I can be a dozen different versions of myself, by allowing my mind to fall into a single image. I hear the call to track 3, followed quickly by eggs over easy with whole wheat toast. A door to the street opens and the smell of engine exhaust wafts into my nostrils. The flower girl steps behind the flower counter, the sound of jangling keys to open. The man seated to my left rises, still wearing both reading and sunglasses on his head, and begins to move. I breathe deeply.

I am a Time Traveler and this moment is my current home. While we are together, allow me to introduce myself.

15 thoughts on “The Station: Part Three

  1. Look at those angles. Great eye, Noelle. You do have a gift for seeing what others miss. I must admit I don’t know what it is to revel in not needing to be on my way. I am not only always so busy, I think I would stress if I didn’t have to stress. LOL. I like the vegetarian guilt. =)

    • I am 52 now and I can honestly say it has taken me more than 40 years to understand letting go and slowing down. I was one of those people who did everything at 110%. It was taking away my peace and I was skidding across the surface of joy most days. It’s not easy, I won’t lie, but there is a well of beauty you are sitting on that bubbles up the moment you slow down a bit. As effervescent as champagne. Peace sister….

      • I’m trying to remember Meg who said it, maybe Jeff Foster or Adyshanti, but it goes something like the entire world is in a single moment. Global travel is found in a breath. Another spot I read that it only takes 53 inhalations and you will have breathed in air that has been all over the world. That we are sharing breath with each other over and over again. Magical to consider.

  2. I was there with you Noelle. Your descriptions are wonderful – smell the scent of every train station , centuries of diesel oil – marvellous. Stations are such fascinating places and your words and images make them come alive.

    • That’s exactly what I hoped for, Don. That you living on the other side of the world from me would know it instantly, because all train stations have that wondrous feeling and smell. They connect us together somehow. I believe that in a way I’ve never felt about an airport.

  3. I enjoyed this one Noelle, great photos too to go along with your words. I like the idea of the time traveler too, very interesting! Like Don said, you do a fantastic job to describe the environment, I felt like I was there (the bacon smelled good, btw). Terminal Bar – probably not the best name for a bar, sounds too final. You wouldn’t want to eat at a terminal restaurant either, right? 😀

    • It’s actually a great bar. It’s build into where the old ticket windows once where. So it has a great feel about it. Yes, the bacon did smell good. It’s funny, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who thinks bacon smells bad. Even if they are vegetarian. It’s like the universal scent in a weird sort of way.

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