Sunday, May 23, 2010
My (now) 7 year old grandson Sonny had told me a few weeks ago that he'd like to go on a train. So . . .
I picked him up at 9.30 today, drove him back to my house and we walked in towards town. He hadn't been told what we were going to do on our 'special day out', but he did whisper he thought it might be a train journey.
As we approached the station, he still didn't recognise what sort of building it might be - why would he? Then, when we walked into the ticket office, he could see the tracks through the window. His face was a delight. I bought day returns to Winchester and we went over the footbridge to the far platform.
At Winchester, we walked down towards the town and 'happened upon' a bus stop. I asked if he would like to go on a bus ride as well. He thought that would be great. (Little did he know how meticulously the day was planned.)
Bless him, he even thought the bus was taking us back home and was quite happy in thinking that this 'round trip' was his day out.
The bus took us to Arlesford and to the 'Watercress Line' (a vintage railway). I don't really think he could believe his eyes - steam trains!!!
We were just in time and jumped on board. Woo Hoo and we were off: chugga chugga, chucka chucka, right up the track. We listened and mimicked and made up rhythmic rhymes, in time to the beat. It was great fun.
The return journey, though, was even better. We had time to spare, at the end, and watched the engine that had pulled us be uncoupled. We then went onto the bridge to watch it go down the line, change tracks and come back. Realising it was then to be placed at the other end of 'our' train, to pull off again, we ran along the platform and watched one of the volunteers get down between the engine and the first carriage, to make the coupling secure. We crouched down together on the platform and watched - sometimes silent, with Sonny in awe at this dangerous task, and sometimes talking quietly about what was happening.
Then it was time to make our way back to the bus and two trains back to my home town and the walk back to my house. Hungry, we drove to the beach and bought fish and chips, to share (so I don't feel too guilty).
A very special day.
But what has this to do with Spark?
Well . . .
there's the physical fact that we walked about four miles and that reminds me that just being with the grandchildren is likely to make me, and certainly give me more opportunity to be, more active. So that is to be embraced.
But then there were the tracks - the train tracks. Whenever I see train tracks I am always mindful of how they are used to signify inevitability in films. If you see train track stretching out, you just know there is no getting off from the direction the train is travelling, whether it's slowly and painfully or full steam down hill - the fate is sealed.
And yet, that engine today, broke its connection with its 'body' went over the points to change tracks, then direction, and reconnect - all to pull the carriages the other way. So . . . the projected outcome was entirely altered and inevitability was disrupted and changed.
When we eat badly (in whatever way) we are on one track - the one that ensures a decline; joining Spark introduces the possibility of crossing over the points and changing direction. It's then up to us, with the mutual support of and for our Spark friends, to maintain that new direction and perhaps reassess and readjust again, but to never ever lock ourselves back into inevitability.
I know which track I am now on.
Yes, a very special day.
Thank you, Sonny!
(He said it was, "Sonny's sunny day.")