Eleanor GoetzDecember 31, 2016A Lens on LearningAwesome Moments

The only color is the yellow and orange of the seats, usually covered up by the half-sleeping commuters, listening to the melody of their lives, tuned to only their station.

Lights flicker above and the windows are dark. The only one who breaks this silence is a screaming baby. A young child looks around, with wide eyes seeing what we saw weeks, months, or years ago, erased by the monotony of the commute. I hear my station playing the sounds of the day ahead wondering whether I am going to be late because this train is moving so slowly. Will I remember all my French vocabulary words for the quiz today. Will there be time to have lunch with my friends? In this car, with our separate thoughts, is a universe at rest, hibernating for only a few more moments.

Then with a screech of the wheels, we begin to climb. Slowly light crowds the car like water breaching a dam, awakening sleepy travelers. Almost at the same time, we raise our heads toward window like sunflowers turning toward the sun, which unites us exchanging short smiles, as if we have known each other for ages.

Seeing the glistening water, mimicking the emotion of the clouds, they are usually a sorrow-filled grey. The awakening sun pours onto the Brooklyn Bridge, reaching its fingers through the cables, making it warmer, sparkling, and magical, gazing up at the ever changing kaleidoscope of beams and cables. Giant buildings look like blades of grass and the people walking beneath them like ants. When the train arrives to the bridge, our imaginations race. Looking down into Chinatown, we wonder what it would be like to be down there among the colorful awnings and signs. The train passes a small gallery of graffiti exclusive only to us. As we descend into the tunnel again, many of us return to our thinking and our electronics but it is different from when we began our journey: we all share the memory of awe from the B train.

Even though many share this event every day, it never gets dull, finding ourselves lifting our heads to enjoy the view as children looking at the world for the first time.

I appreciate this sudden spark of light more because I have been in the damp, dark caves of the subway tunnels.

Eleanor Goetz lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family and attends LaGuardia High School in Manhattan. Her major is in visual art, and she works part-time at the American Museum of Natural History, in the genomics laboratory of the entomology department. She hopes to combine her love of art and science in her work in the future.