three and a half years.
if my photos are correct, the last time we were on metra – heading to chicago – was december 15, 2019.
and then, last week. over and over i said, “i can’t believe we’re on the train.”
we used to go on the train quite often…jaunting down to see our son, to catch dinner with him, to simply walk around downtown, to see holiday lights. we really live in a convenient place…pretty much midway between milwaukee and chicago with a hop-skip-jump to madison. each of these cities are within less than a two hour radius. but it didn’t matter during covid. we stayed away.
on the train with dear friends, we talked about the arc of the last three plus years. how 2020 was a watershed into the next, how impacted we all were by the pandemic, how the recovery phase has been slow. and we marveled at sitting on the train together, chatting with our seats facing each other, laughing, having a picnic lunch, taking the easy route to chicago. it was – truly – marvelous.
we don’t mind driving to chicago. we always take the back roads and enjoy the little towns and ravines along the way. it’s not that we are completely interstate-averse, but if there’s a back way and we can plan some extra time, we are going to opt for it. with a tiny bit more control of our schedule, we also felt a little more control of our airspace.
so we had virtually forgotten about the train. until last week.
our first-time-back on-board was kind of magical. much of the route goes along the back road, so new perspectives as we chugged past the towns we love to drive through. it made us all a little dreamy – so many possibilities of things to do together – simply by taking the train.
saturdays and sundays and holidays offer $7 weekend passes and weekdays – on an app – offer $10 full day passes throughout all the zones metra travels. the new ventra app makes it all easy. “easypeasy” as 20 says. i imagine we’ll be using that eataly giftcard we were given one of these days. it’s been tucked into a cupboard, waiting for some time now.
like us. we’ve been waiting. to move back into the world. it’s not like we haven’t moved about. not as much adventuring up to now as most, but we have roadtripped to see our kids, our family, have shared time with closest friends. but we can feel the difference now. we can feel the tug of concerts, the pull of town hall type talks, the visceral tapping on our shoulder of travel and experiences.
it was weird to sit on the train – after all this time – sans mask. there were a few moments i thought about it, a little wary, because the pandemic has left its mark on me. it’s left its mark on all of us. i don’t suppose there will be a time now that my purse won’t have a KN95 in it. and hand sanitizer. i definitely see the wisdom of sanitizer.
we exited metra at our northbound station, tired from the day but not in an exhausted way. a little bit had changed.
and we felt it. we talked it about it later.
life – and breathing a little bit easier – inviting us. on a tiny and a grand scale, both.
to take the train.
read DAVID’s thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY