Rolling Village by Tess Wixted
When I ride the bus I step into a world of community. There’s the bus driver who every morning greets my step aboard his coach with a smile and warm welcome to the stirring dawn. It’s the first conversation of my workdays and when he’s not there I miss him. I miss his hello, his a good Monday to you and his wish for me to have a very happy Valentine’s Day.
I relish the climb to the upper level of our grand double-decker bus and I settle into my favourite seat, left side, just behind the stairs. My fellow travellers come and go, some with familiarity and an unspoken nod to our shared experience in this journey. Others join us for a solo quest towards a new job, an anxious trip to the doctor, a ride to catch the perfect wave with surfboard in tow.
In the solitude of my commuting cocoon I settle in for a good read, the words of my books taking me on side journeys to the recesses of my mind and vistas of worlds far away. It’s a time to catch up on emails or when the morning has pulled me too brashly into its wake to sit and meditate. My eyes closed, following my breath and the curve of the road, the stops and starts, the conversations rising and falling around me.
Sometimes the ride is a time to settle in next to my friend and catch up on where our lives have taken us in the past few days. We don’t have the luxury of hours in a coffee shop so our time is condensed, rarefied and oh so present. The important stories rise to the surface like so much sweet cream to sip and share with each other in the short time we have before heading off to our days of busyness and appointments and too much to do.
My community includes the teenage girls talking about homework and the boys they adore. It’s the baby in a carriage reaching out to take my finger in his hand and giving me the most delicious smile in exchange. I watch my judgements of the tough kid with his piercings and foul language fall away when he graciously offers his seat to the elderly woman shuffling down the aisle. It’s the chorus of thank you for the driver who delivered us safe and whole to our destinations that caresses my heart each time I hear it.
The bus is how I get from A to B, but it’s also where I find humanity. It’s a place of reflection and dreams, of laughter and spirit. It’s life in all its dips and turns, its shouts and whispers. And I have to say I love the ride.