I sit on the train today wondering if this time next week, or the week after, or the week after that, I’ll still have a job. If I’ll still be riding on this track that follows the Puget Sound from Seattle to Edmonds, to Mukilteo, to Everett.
Today I wonder, for the first time since I began commuting on the train nine months ago, who built these tracks. Whose hands laid the steal upon which the train glides along.
Surely it wasn’t an easy task. At most points there is only a small space, maybe a foot or two wide, between the edge of the tracks and the rocks that fall into the water of the Puget Sound. If I sit in my seat just right, it looks as if we are literally gliding along the water. Floating.
And at some points there are sandy, rocky beaches with logs and long grass and people in knit caps walking their dogs. Some people wave to the train. Today I can’t bring myself to wave back. I feel ashamed but I still don’t wave. If I wave, I will lose the sense that I’m floating. I will disrupt this momentary peace in my day.
If I do lose my job as part of the predicted “reduction in force” I will miss this ride. The ride that allows me to think. To write. To observe the natural world in the water and along the banks of the sound. This thirty-minute train ride that allows me to feel free of life’s weight as I float along the water on the track that those before me took care to lay.