Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li
liralen

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Steel and Rain



We started at the Old Towne stop, which is by the old, Mexican style haciendas of the old, old, Spanish style part of town. It's far north of actual downtown and the stop, itself, is under the arches of I-5, so we were able to find a wonderful parking spot that was dry under and umbella of concrete. There was an underpass from the parking lot to the stop itself, stairs down into the dark and dank and then back up to the light, and Jet was fast asleep in John's arms. John found a sheltered spot while Kathy and I skittered through the rain for what looked like the main station building. Kathy popped out too soon, and said, "Tickets are only at the ticket machines."

So we fed bills, quickly, into the machine, as four other folks shivered beside us reading the fares, and getting the amounts all mixed up as well. I assumed that Jet didn't need a ticket, though I never really knew...

The train came, red and yellow with a sign in the front window declaring it a blue line train. We needed an orange line train to get to the convention center, but all the maps only showed blue up here... so we just hopped on, with faith, as it was going in the right direction and we could always transfer with our round-trip tickets. It had seats facing each other in groups of four, a bench on each side, with a back to another bench, we took one of those groups and Jet snored softly as we dripped on the plastic faux-leather seats. The rain whispered against the glass as first, the airport, then the city blew by with the proper clackclack of wheels on tracks. Each intersection was heralded by the ding-ding-ding and flashing red lights of the crossings.

We carefully counted the stops, and when Kathy saw the immense awning and the "little" Hammering Man (emulating the HUGE one in Seattle), we hopped off, and Jet woke up to the mist on his face and the echoing cavern of concrete and steel, sounding of trains...

He was in wonderland, instantly, looking everywhere, absorbing it all as quickly and quietly as possible. The awning was four stories up, strung between two high rises, though not exactly 'strung' as it was steel with Arches and flying buttresses that made me think more of the Elven architecture in the Lord of the Rings movies than anything, shining and web-like against the raining sky. It was beautiful.

Three trolleys went the other way, then one of the blue line went by our way and, finally, the right orange line trolley came towards us. Jet climbed the stairs like they were a mountain, struggling a little, slipping, falling one stair, and then manfully gathering himself and getting up them with hands on the steps. He then left a trail of water on the seat as he climbed up the end of it and crawled to the windows.

Wonder and rain. Wow. My heart aches at the rain, soft kisses of coolness on the skin, light and misty and mild, not hard and cold the way it so often is in Colorado. I am so homesick, but I don't know exactly what for, anymore, as our home definitely isn't here...

The ride back had a little, old black man telling us of the schedule and the history of the line. That was great. But he got off at Seaport Village to see what the New Years preparations were. I like that kind of interaction that's only possible on public transportation. I miss that... the light rail in Denver won't get to Longmont until Jet's 13, and I don't think we'll be living there by then, either... we'll see. Portland's light rail is so great we have another reason to be there, too, now.
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