A rumbling locomotive grinds into the crowded station. There is little space afforded to stand and none to sit. The faces pile into the train, squeezed tightly and holding on for sparse breaths and safety, looking forward to making it to their destinations. The compartments are full, some of the passengers on the platform choosing to wait for the next carriages to roll into the station before making their way home, sacrificing their time for a little more comfort.
The platform left behind is a tale of people, of waste and of the hardships that pass through every day. A site of struggle and necessity, the stations are murky in their standing, lined on both sides with soot encrusted tracks. The storm of dust brought in by the compartments settles as the train continues forward, onto the next station on the journey from one end of the city to the other.
Jolting from side to side, the train speeds in bullet form, pausing between stations and coasting along as it can. The faces peer into phones, into their papers and out of the windows only to find their reflections glancing back at them through the dark underground. The number of passengers thins as the train proceeds out of the city.
The train surfaces in the suburbs, people continuing to appear and disappear in and out of the compartments. There are hundreds of stories on this train, of toil and struggle, and of hopes and dreams but I can only be sure of one. The people of backgrounds dissimilar, of different worlds, crossing paths once for a brief eye contact only to never brush into each other again on a warm and crowded Friday afternoon on the subway.
It is by no means a long walk and with each step, I inch closer to my student housing. The blueberries of summer have been replaced with gravel to prevent pedestrians from falling. The howling winds of winter have arrived early and with them, a lumbered stroll home in the night following long hours of study at the University.
I stumble with my steps, mumble to myself about the miseries of chills that wish to spill me over onto the icy roads. The snowflakes fall sparingly and cars pass in numbers, the bubbles of orange light speeding past in sequence. I avoid the large puddles but my feet are wet, water soaking into my socks squishing under my feet with each step. I will soon be home, but with each turn made and each crossing passed, I feel further away from warmth than my last stride.
Up and down the small hills and streets, my legs stiff stiffen like wood. My jacket hood covers my hair and my wool hat covers my forehead with only my eyes under their glasses and cheeks exposed to the winter air. It won’t be long, I tell myself.
I pass through a pedestrian tunnel. The graffiti on the walls of this hollow channel changes quickly and often. I make a final turn down the home stretch of pavement. My building is within sight, the warm air of my room beckoning me forward. I wish to lay in my bed and fall asleep but the trek continues. The tension in my legs eases and I have made it within a couple minutes of my apartment.
Passing my key card through a metal slot, I pass through the glass doors with a sigh of relief. I await the elevator, hop into the tiny box and appear at my floor within seconds. Opening the front door to my room, I have finally arrived home to a warm room and comfortable bed. Each step is an accomplishment in these miles and minutes of cold weather demanding more with each passing moment.
I look forward to tomorrows, to more walks, to challenges and further successes.
The long trails endured on journeys home are in the darkness. Behold a winter wind against my sails, my feet the paddles that shall prevail on my walks home leaving the calluses on my feet betrayed and frail.
I have stayed well through these walks despite despising the deprived miles I bear through boots as worn as raw hide and a forsaken smile.
Step, stride, shadow by my side, I turn to find it creeping, leaping out to push me along for this humbling ride.
Fastened into my march, backpack bouncing behind my back
A flouncing thud with each step, pronouncing a rousing inquest, forever seeking a touch of warmth with each frozen breath.
The sea feeds into the mouths of locals. The banks stretch for children to play, the clean crisp air of mornings guiding the youth staggering over the perching rocks for a dip after school and through the summer vacations. These banks are built for warmer days but always in brace for winter chills. The joys of the neighborhood are the home of flora and fauna and the place to spend dawns and dusk remembering all that is right with the world.
When I was young, these banks were as innocent as my flesh, the rocks protruding dangerously through the waters for daring children to step upon and make their way further into the sea. We relished in the sand, in the water and the pebbles that lay on the shores waiting to be picked up by curious children.
As I grew older, the banks grew dark and burdened. They turned cold just as they turned warm, and they became a part of me as much as I disassociated from them. The sandcastles were no longer built and the children of the next generation rarely frequented these shores in the ways we did. Alone in the evening darkness, the beach remained largely untouched by the doings of man but awaited the next campers, the next fishermen, and the people of tomorrow.
The banks are now as they once were, the locals visiting them on occasion with their families for a weekend outing. The ducks congregate in droves ready to come ashore for food but weary of human contact. Sometimes, I head out alone to the edges of the water and dip my feet. The water cools me, the rocks still invite me out into the open sea and I can still hear our playing as children. When I turn around, there is no one behind me. Only the sight of the moon and a sky full of silver stars beckoning me out step further into the waters and enjoy what once was.
The sea will remain long after any sign of our days at the water front. It will continue to harbor the occasional boat, the schools of fish and the weeds. I will visit these waters to appreciate an open sky, the warmth of summer and the cool of an autumn breeze. The seas of our lives are meant to survive when we are long gone, embedding us in the muddy embankments filled with reminisces of our youthful days.
Pages flicker between fingers. Slowly turned, one after the other, the hands rubbing against paper in the silence of rooms subduing readers. Without bother and unflinching, a captivating story engulfs without the need for thinking past the pages at hand. Black ink against white backdrops, the novels rages through veins until the edges of the book are creased and the story is consumed a word at a time for a perfect picture in the form of a story.
The classics, the greats, the newest and the latest make the endless world of books a journey without a finish. The countless libraries, the small bookshops, the large retailers all contribute a slice to the giant paper pie of voices and experiences. From fiction to biography and poetry, heroes are born, and tales are captured in the grips of the next page and the next scene unraveling faster into the oncoming chapter.
The need to swallow each word without missing a letter is greater in the favorites. The intricacies of the works growing greater with each passing sentence, the small puzzles solved as part of larger collections patched and framed within the hard covers passed between readers.
Moonlight falls upon on my bookshelf. The books swallow the surrounding darkness and the glimmering spines shine titles and authors from years gone by, waiting to be picked up and given a chance.
The reflections from my space are of seat back tray tables, empty soda cans and pages of crumpled novels. An infinite number of trips do not satisfy my restless nature. From home to school, the pages of my ruled notebook are compiled of endless sentences of poetry and prose. I stumble over the minutes, adjusting myself in my seat for a position of peace and rest. Finally, in comfort, I open into the pages and truly begin my journey, as I have countless times in the past, into my surroundings, whether immediate, distant, past or present.
I am creative by nature. The rules and confines of science, interesting and necessary as they are, can be tedious. I survive in small doses of scientific thought and in larger gulps consisting of the intricacies of life and the ways of others. There is no limit to creative endeavor. The black hole of creativity finds ways to suck in inquisitive minds without hopes of being remitted back with any form of normalcy.
An endless amount of times, I have found my thoughts spiraling out into bigger ideas, grown and branched into a million little pieces of everyday life with a million backdrops. Never finding myself void, the relentless machine between my ears churns without stopping. It is a world of its own, rarely at standstill, always with opinion or idea.
Before I know it, I am elsewhere. The open fields of the countryside blend into a large view of winter landscapes and grassland. The empty meadows immerse the mind, clearing them of the unnecessary. As the train churns forward, so do the thoughts accompanying these voyages of hundreds of kilometers. I have made note of the ideas, I have made sense on the restlessness and I have moved into a different scene before long.
The rain come down as it does
The light nowhere, not here, maybe saved to be borrowed for tomorrow
Ominous grey covers, shrouded in cold clouds loving the loud bangs of thunderous rumbles
A man soaked in his black winter attire, wired to his mind the unkind flavors of seasonal surrender
Drenched with every step, wet in his walk up the hills of beauty
A person without duty, bound only to the body truly
Unruly marches for pinnacles to be reached
For mountains to be conquered
For each step to be pondered
But rain so heavy, so formed, so ready
to topple him over
in a walk so unsteady
He continues, as with dusk and dawns
Thrusting himself onto great mountain tops
Unable to stop for a view amidst the lush hillsides and mountainside lawns
They march in silence
In scenes of commotion watching
Wondering where they fit
Sitting in darkened corners
Silence plastered on the corners of their lips
Alone again amidst the crowds
Without the making of sentences among the loud
Shrouded in isolation
Dignity filters away to the ways of the disavowed
Spare a thought, afford a word
Broke in company
A joke unheard
Left to their vices
Countless of the lifeless breathe away
Tired and sick
Wishing yet to live on another day
Do you remember cold days of December?
The passing seasons of daydreams without reason
Looking out through the windows of youth
Wishing elsewhere not daring to deal with truth
A change will come, has come, and the people have gone
Where might they be? They may come back before long
Wait and wait until they no longer return
Moving on with today for tomorrow cannot be earned
Gazing out into the phasing out of life as it is known
Radical changes and rearrangements in the name of growth
The world is not how it began, how it was, how it will be tomorrow
With less time for sorrow peering out the windows of yesterdays borrowed