Simplicity is Beautiful

trainclock

I take the train from Vancouver to Olympia, and then back again, all the time. (The love of my life lives south of the border.)

Olympia’s Centennial Station is staffed by (usually) elderly volunteers who love trains and who love helping travelers. Built in 1993 after six years of fund-raising in the local community, the train platform is laden with metallic plaques with the names of contributors. So many are couples. To me, the plaques are very moving.

Everything about this train station is right: The seats are comfortable; the vending machines have coffee, juice, pop, peanuts, and Cheese-Its at inexpensive prices; there are plugs everywhere; and the Wi-Fi never flutters.

My favourite part of the station is the clock outside. I have often stood in the rain just to stare at it. Unlike many of my students, I have very little vocabulary to describe design (a professional nuisance, alas). But I think I “get” this clock. It looks strong; it looks old-fashioned. Trains are strong and old-fashioned, but they are neither obsolescent nor obsolete. Their design is simple and beautiful.

(I stole the title for this post from Juliana Hatfield, a great musical artist.)

 

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