Beltane Waxing Dyan Moon
Savannah Amtrak Station, waiting on the Silver Meteor which the stationmaster said will be 20 minutes late.
After leaving the rental car to the tender mercies of the Alamo cleaners, I took a taxi from the airport to the Amtrak station. In the process I rode on early 20th century technology to get to 19th century technology, displaced by the mid 20th century phenomenon of the commercial jet.
When I first arrived at 6:00 p.m., I had the station all to myself. The stationmaster asked how far I wanted to check “this big boy.” All the way to Minneapolis.
He gave me a new ticket folder because the trip down had crumpled the old one.
The first additional travelers to arrive were a short, squat man with brill cream slicked back hair, an Asian boy in sandals whom he treated as a son and two short pinch fenced red heads headed back to some school or the other. They were family and had, apparently long ago, mastered the art of conversations in which each of them talked at the same time. It was a peculiar experience. Like watching unfamiliar animals in their habitat.
Now there are many people in the station, that movement of people in and out of public places that finds them alternately empty and crowded, as tides of passengers or audiences or students come and go. The change is from dead to alive, a space with no buzz to a space filled with the agendas of strangers mixed together for a brief period.
It may be the relative novelty of train travel, but all this seems more human, certainly less desparate than the airport, even the small one I left earlier today.
Now there are two Amtrak employees here.
Every one stays in their small spaces, talking to those whom they know. One thing travelers do is find small spaces they can claim as their own. This space, no matter if its only a plastic seat in a crowded room, provides a refuge from the chaos of others and their unknown purposes. This is one of the chief advantages of train travel, it allows a space with real boundaries, a place you can fall asleep while traveling.
Yes, it takes longer, but the process has a definite scale to it that seems to match me. Rather than flung in the air by great jet engines, we will glide over the rails, pulled forward by hulking engines with humans at the controls, in fact riding on the engine itself.