I am a traveler. On a train called Society that moves me through Life. I was brought onto the train by my parents, who believed it was the safest place for me. As I grew, and tried to run off the train, or even change cars, they would catch me, like any good parent would do, and set me on the seat next to them, shielded from the view of what was “out there.”
When they couldn’t catch me anymore, I spent most of my time in the dining car, where I sat with others like me, peering out the window, talking about a someday when we would be “out there.”
When it came time for me to have children, though, I looked around the dining car and realized there were no families there, so I moved back to the travel car. With my babies on my lap, I pulled the shade on the windows so that the brightness of “out there” would not disturb them, and after a time, I forgot about the window.
One day I woke up from sleeping and remembered the window. I lifted the shade and was overcome. I saw things “out there” I had never noticed before. There were mountains in the distance, a forest past the field. Narrow and overgrown, but visible trails leading away from the tracks, platforms in the sky. The colors and the movement of air and trees were beautiful. I remembered my peers in the dining car and wondered why I never left the train.
I told my children the stories my friends and I used to tell about the great “out there” and they listened – their eyes lit with the excitement of possibility, adventure, and unknown. They scrambled out of my lap, running from window to window, peering out and seeing … but not knowing.
After a time, they came to me, one by one, and said they were moving to the dining car, then one day, they left the dining car and sat on a flat car with no walls or windows. Closing their eyes, feeling the rush of wind, and tossing their arms into the sky, reaching for something they did not know but that they knew was “out there.”
Once in awhile, I go sit on the flat car with them. Usually in the middle, because I miss the security of the enclosed car. They laugh and sing, and dance in the air, but none of us ever get off the train.
I dream of a day when they, or their children, or their children’s children, get off the train. “Out there”, they might be like me and remember the security of the traincar. They may build houses to live in the fields, rather than venturing into the woods, but they will be “out there.” With each generation, children will explore the pathways and one day, one of them will figure out the way to those platforms in the sky.
They will fly.