Why We Should Relish Endings

The Washington Post, May 13, 2015

Many years ago, living in Boston but in love with a man in New York, I took the train down the Eastern Seaboard twice a month. Five or ten minutes before the ride ended, the train would begin to slow. This was my favorite part of the ride: the whizz of goldenrod yellow, asphalt blue, indiscernibly shadowy backyards, town squares popping up into view and then vanishing fast as the backs of cresting dolphins disappearing down into the deep — all this suddenly started to resolve into detail, to piece itself together into identifiable things. I savored the chance to pick out the shape of a single purple tricycle in someone’s open car-port, the lettering on the street signs, the different wildflowers genuflecting at the edge of the gravel railway track, the face of a child in a window. What had been imperceptible became knowable through the very different rhythm of the journey’s ending.

I’ve been thinking about these train rides lately. Read more ...