Notes from Windward: #67


Train Rides and Sacred Circles

Becca talks about her journey to Windward

I've loved trains since I set foot on them last spring when a few friends approached me with the proposal to travel from college in Minnesota to home back east. My parents were more than a little bit confused by the proposal since home is just a three hour plane ride home, but being in favor of alternative transportation, I figured it would be fun to try out. Since then I've been hooked.

      Never mind the 27 hours it takes to get from Minnesota to DC or the cramped position that I sleep in as I snuggle up next to the vibrating window of the train, or the 3rd meal of dried bread as I stubbornly refuse to buy train food, traveling by train is experience I would recommend to anyone.

      And why is that might you ask? There are the environmental benefits, the Union of Concerned Scientists says that traveling by train has far less of an impact than traveling by plane. There are the aesthetic benefits, you pass through misty valleys and snow topped mountains and windblown prairies and all sorts of beautiful landscapes.

     But the part I like best is being thrust together with people from all walks of life in an environment that facilitates real communication. Real communication is something that I think is missing a lot in this world where the gap between who we perceive ourselves to be and who we perceive people who are different than ourselves to be is widening quickly. On the train I have met a refugee from the Rwandan genocide, I have met a person who just got out of a twelve year abusive relationship, I have met fundamentalist Christians, I have met old southern men reminiscing about the past, and non-governmental workers, whoever it is, everyone has a story and a perspective that needs telling.

     As I was heading to Windward this year on the train I was reminded of the way I found out about Windward in the first place. I'd been traveling back to Minnesota to stay there for the summer after a brief stint at home when a person who I'd talked to earlier stopped me in the isle and said I HAD to meet someone. He introduced me to Jacki who was headed to Windward for the summer and when I found out where she was going, it sounded like the perfect summer internship for me.

     I'd been feeling frustrated with the theoretical nature of my education so far in college, and had been searching for a place where I could start learning practical applications to it, how a person could start implementing the cradle to cradle cycle. The trip to Windward after meeting Jacki a year later on the train represented a circular cycle to me, she'd come and went, and now I was coming. Again the cradle to cradle theme, like the phoenix who turns to flame and then comes back to life. Like the cycles that occur at Windward, for instance taking uncompostable food, feeding it to black fly larvae who then can be fed to fish who then can have their waste fertilize plants that grow. It was very fitting then, that on the train ride I met someone who was very interested in sacred geometry.


     Sacred geometry includes drawings of interwoven circles and triangles that overlap and result in a larger picture. The sum is greater than the whole of it's parts. Even though the guy was relating his drawings of sacred geometry to Hinduism, I see a lot of potential to relate it to sustainability movements such as what's going on at Windward. All of the different projects someone can work on are represented by circles and they fit together in a way that moving forward in any project is moving the whole goal forwards, making the vision more complete.

     And the more complete the vision is, the more people can make the connection that they have the power to take control of their destiny. Again, going back to the main reason why I love the train, the more overlapping connections we have with people who we perceive to be different than us, the more we can start realizing a grander vision for humanity to strive towards. Understanding the similarities in all of us and the roots of disagreement, war and misunderstandings is essential to seeing the larger picture.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67