Saturday, March 5, 2011

Down here at the Railroad Station

In this picture, the passenger is arriving - and clearly wants to move forward on his journey at haste. If we dream of ourselves in this position we are clearly in transition. Having said that, I am always dreaming of changing buses, trains, planes and moving between termini. These splendid trains in the background would signify power, luxury and comfort in a dream. They could also indicate a development in your life. But this all depends of course on the context. If you were always travelling on this kind of train, it might signify something completely different. However, when I think of railway stations, they sometimes remind me of the ancient caravan trade routes. Now the caravanserai were roadside stops for the caravan traders to rest and recuperate. Like the old coach inns, they provided meals and accommodation. The railway station is a bit like that. These lines are from one of my favourite poems, Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. "Think, in this batter'd Caravansara/ Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day/How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp/Abode his destined Hour, and went his way." The railway station is, over time, like anything else. It's subject to change. Major railways stations no longer offer baths to travel-stained passengers, like the caravenserai of old. That's a pity. I remember using the service at Euston station in London. It was affordable and briefly luxurious. Chain coffee shops and clothes franchises can never replace that.