Trains Offer a New Perspective in Relationships

Ladder leading to pictureThis post is part of the “Step Into Pictures” series that offers you a new way to explore both difficult relationships and those you treasure. Visit the Step Into Pictures Archive to learn more about it.

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The Los Angeles Union Train Station

Click on picture to see enlarged view

In a previous post of the Step-into-Pictures series suggested you take someone with you on a ride on a steamer in New Zealand. This time I suggest a different kind of travel.

Imagine that several years ago your cousin was going to take the Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles to Seattle and had a couple hours to kill. Since he always carried a sketch book wherever he went, he was entranced by this original ticket concourse with more than twenty ticket counters and a 62-foot high ceiling.

Although it is now closed to the public — in this picture one person is standing in the far back of the room, giving you a sense of proportion — you can imagine what it must have been like seventy-five years ago when passenger trains played a larger role in our lives than they do now.

Yet there is still something nostalgic about a train station. Perhaps it is that, as Dana Frank wrote, “Trains tap into some deep American collective memory.” Or as Elisha Cooper wrote in Train, “The train is a small world moving through a larger world.”

Knowing that you were a train buff, your cousin framed his sketch and gave it to you. Now it hangs on your wall, where you may wonder what would happen if you were able to actually enter the Union Train Station.

Now imagine that standing at your side inside the train station is someone with whom you are having problems. What might happen if you turned to that person and began to talk about the difficulties you two have? Might the atmosphere of this place help you think of a different way to approach your relationship in the world outside the picture?

Instead of that person, perhaps you would like to invite a good friend or relative to enter the picture with you. What would you talk about? Would you plan a trip?

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