Archive for October, 2007

Of trains and trainings

October 31, 2007

For years, I’ve had the opportunity to ply the length of California aboard Amtrak, earning more public transit cred than any other Infopeople trainer. My two favorite routes are the San Joaquins–especially in spring when the almond trees and roses are blooming for miles and miles alongside the tracks–and the Capitol Corridor–especially at dawn when the water birds are just waking as we trundle through the Delta. Today, it will be the Capitol Corridor, but not at dawn…one last slide up to Sacramento for one last Weeding workshop in 2007.

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to take perhaps the most glorious train ride ever: to reach Reno for the AASL conference, I made reservations on the California Zephyr, which snakes through the Sierras for more than three hours of tunnels (29), snow sheds (8), the American River’s gorges and canyons, and, in this case, blazing gold autumn under crisp blue skies. (I’d share the pictures I managed to take but the connector cable for the camera is somewhere in the depths of my luggage, so that will have to wait).

This afternoon, after a last good-bye to the Earphone English crowd at Berkeley High, it’s off to Berkeley’s Amtrak station, under a booming overpass that feeds cars in every possible direction except into the Bay. There’s some great artwork down there: a giant mural with a brief inscription to both ancient and modern shore pedestrians.

Halifax minus four

October 31, 2007

In less than a week, I must suppose, Halifax will be home. Between then and now, the list of both chores and pleasures to accomplish billows in multiple directions. One suitcase is packed and ready; the second is mostly full. The computer’s been backed up, the iPod is mostly loaded, and I’ve updated my address book. I’ve kept long ago made obligations to do presentations at AASL and CLA and had lots of fun seeing librarian folks in both Reno (who knew one could have fun being a librarian there?!) and Long Beach (in spite of the smoke). Thanks to YALSA and the good humors of Terry Jacobsen and Jonathan Furner, the presentations went smoothly and people seemed to have a good time to boot.

Today stands as the singular no-obligations day in the whole week: no appointments, no trains, no workshops, no planes. It started with a boom: my son’s long hoped for college acceptance. So, now I can leave knowing that that particular sword of Damocles isn’t hanging.

The afternoon brought a sad time however: saying an unwanted goodbye. I’ve left other cities and other friends before and each time, there’s someone who stands out from the crowd of receding faces, the person I always believed would be in my life forever. The comfort, for me, is that each of these times that person hasn’t been lost. Like that sappy song we had to sing in Brownies, “Make new friends/but keep the old/one is silver/and the other gold.” But I don’t think she knows that yet, doesn’t know that she’s gold and the friendship stays.