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Sunday 22 June 2014

Between stations

The gentle movement of the carriage rocks me closer to sleep. With a late afternoon sun burning brightly through the glass, I enjoy the feeling of warmth on my face. I wonder, briefly, if anyone will board the next time the train stops. We shudder to a halt, doors open, and I'm suddenly surrounded by walking and talking, sitting and rustling. The peace is shattered. 
A tall man with a limp plops himself down next to me and says hi. He has friendly blue eyes and a soft voice. Within seconds the only conversation we will probably ever have begins. 
As we accelerate he tells me about his recent knee operation. I am sympathetic to his pain. We talk about family, horse riding, holidays and work. He is frustrated at being unable to play football at the moment and regrets not having travelled more when he was younger. A sadness flashes across his face as he tells me that life is short. I nod, suddenly thinking about my bucket list. With a change of subject, he is once again smiling. His girlfriend is coming over tonight to cook him dinner. I laugh at the loveliness of it. He chuckles. 
And as the train begins to slow, I see the station up ahead. I slide my orange Moleskine and silver pen back into my bag and zip it up.
"This is me, I'm afraid", I say as I ready myself to leave. He looks up at me and our hands clasp in a shake.
"Have a nice life", he cheerfully says as I get up out of my seat. I smile and wish him health and happiness. In less than a minute I am standing on a platform, alone once again, bag in hand. 
And as the train pulls away, I make my way up towards the exit and out into the sun.
I can't help but think about these funny little moments we have. Life is all about connections - connections we have with friends and family, strangers and lovers. We share our lives and bear witness to each other's journey. But wherever we go, and whomever we meet on the way, the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourself. 

Sunday 15 June 2014

Slowly, but surely

My friend is old. Very old. He makes me chuckle. As we both enter the manicured garden, he sinks his head into his dark shell to acclimatise. Within a few seconds, my bare feet hit the cool grass and feel instantly refreshed. Gently placing him down, I watch as his little head pops out of hiding to stretch his neck out once more.
A beautiful day for a stroll.
I am mesmerised by him. The way he looks around and surveys his surroundings brings a smile to my face. He is at peace in his home. His home, in which he has lived for decades, is his familiar. His little legs move slowly forward, dragging his bulky shell along one step at a time. He ambles over to investigate this friendly giant, now sitting on the grass with him. Touching my leg with his head, he looks up at me. I know what he loves. I come bearing gifts. One by one, he munches on delicious strawberry tops and juicy dandelion heads. He is slow and elegant and lovely.
As he continues to feast, I watch and wonder about how fast everything seems to be spinning in the world. We text as we walk, work as we fly, and eat on the run. At times, it's easy to feel lost and overwhelmed by our gigantic juggling act. We all have hopes and dreams and places to be. But as much as we push forward and strive to achieve, sometimes we just need to stop for a moment and take stock. A little time to simply breathe and be. Comfortable in our own shell.
And once we slow down just enough to look around, we might just realise we are closer to our dreams than we thought.