A number of years ago, I found that sometimes life lessons can be discovered by contemplating various experiences. Here are my top ten lessons gleaned from a train trip.
As my husband and I awaited our departure from southwest Iowa for our first Amtrak vacation, a song phrase mused on our car radio, “all you need is just a little patience”! Once in a while trains are early, sometimes late, and occasionally on time. We left the beauty of the bountiful, rolling hills of Iowa to gaze at the gorgeous southern Colorado Rockies, painted in fall colors. The train drop off was only a couple of blocks from our daughter. It was great to see her again!
Learning Our Lessons
We learned many things while riding the rail. It is important to pack light as space is limited. While roving on a moving train from car to car, it is quite like navigating one’s way on a ship traversing on a roiling, rolling sea. To safely maneuver, we were advised to hold onto the overhead baggage rail.
On one leg of our trip, we were in a backwards facing caboose. It was fascinating to see where we’d been! The observation car offered wonderful views to the left and right as well as above. Only the captain was afforded the privilege to see where we were headed.
In order to get to our Colorado destination from Iowa, we had to take an east bound line to western Illinois. Even though we had to go east to eventually go west, we still arrived at our destination, plus it was more relaxing than driving. Additionally, we had the fun experience of taking a train trip!
Top Ten Lessons from the Trains
Whether it was using the tiny restrooms, or navigating one-way interior aisles or road traffic, one must take turns. In crossing the Mississippi, the rail and barge traffic had to take turns traveling over or under the drawbridge. We tried to be sweet and lighten the load of those we would meet.
Prior to stops, the conductor would announce whether there was sufficient time to disembark and amble around. A fellow traveler asked if we were leaving in forty-five minutes. He was told to be on board in twenty-five minutes or less unless he wanted to catch the next day’s train. When they yell, “all aboard”, you’d better be!
The train caused me to contemplate the term, “training”. When one is being trained, it is one thing after another, just as the train cars. Everything must be in a certain way and in a certain order. It is imperative to stay on the tracks.
Rhythms and Rhymes of the Rails
While rumbling down the rails, I heard echoes of Dr. Seuss’ rhythms as from his book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”. (Just feel the same train rhythms when you say this title aloud!) Various train songs chugged through my mind. When I observed groups of workers repairing side tracks, the melody of “I’ve Been Working on the Rail Road” came to me! The Polar Express song, “Believe”, spoke to me through believing it is a blessing to visit loved ones. My very favorite train tune is Cat Steven’s “Peace Train”. I’ll close with his last refrain as well as a recap of my top ten life lessons.
Ten Life Lessons
- 1. Patience makes the journey smoother.
- 2. Seek and savor beauty wherever one may be.
- 3. Loosely bundle one’s happiness and allow it to drip and stick like honey where it may.
- 4. Pack light, be the LIGHT!
- 5. Hold onto one’s Anchor, Rock and/or overhead baggage rail.
- 6. Only one’s Captain sees what’s ahead.
- 7. Sometimes one must go to what seems the wrong way to get headed in the right direction.
- 8. Take turns.
- 9. All aboard means ALL ABOARD!
- 10. Choose the train one wishes to ride. I am choosing the Peace Train, won’t you join me? Cat Steven’s song is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QpjR6-Uuks
You may like another post on ten lessons the water taught me: THINK LIKE WATER.