Snapshots of Green, Part II
September 18, 2009:
I slip back into these places like one does with a cozy sweater or favorite book. I find myself here, lost in the colloquialisms and traditions, in tea and toasties, yet I am separate, gazing upon myself as if a voyeur. I miss it here, I will always miss it here, but perhaps I have finally realized this isn’t where I need to be anymore. I will, of course, make my pots of English Breakfast tea at home, curling up with “Pride and Prejudice” or popping over for a visit to 84 Charing Cross Road, but it will be different.
I have settled into my place in the world happily and am no longer plagued by the magnetization of the turning doorknob. I am sure, in time, that that glorious itch will begin again, but for now, I am that deeply coveted word — content.
I always joke around, claiming if the modern-day Mr. Darcy rode up on his bike, I would move back to the UK in a second. For the first time in three and a half years, I can say without fib that I wouldn’t. I find myself, even after only a week here, becoming unpredictably homesick. I think of my cozy studio, stacked with books and smelling of cupcake batter. I think of my sister with her gracefully swelling pregnant belly and the fluttering kicks of my unborn niece. I think of my favorite places; of the shiny countertops at Madcap and musty smells of the backroom of used books at Baker. I think of the kite-like noise of the Farmer’s Market awnings moving in the wind, and the gingebread frames of the houses in my neighborhood. I miss home.
What is it, this feeling that batters me to and fro, like a ship lost in some trans-Atlantic darkness? I suppose it is that wanting, that exquisite longing, to the idea of “home,” which was woven into me on the first day and whose fulfillment I won’t see until the last. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, than the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world,” CS Lewis once wrote.
And I understand.
For now, I have seen enough grand churches, poked through enough ancient ruins, taken enough photos in front of enough world monuments. I have stepped on and off enough planes and packed enough suitcases. I will always love that part of the world, as so many do, but for now, it is enough.
But I have not seen nearly enough sunrises or touched nearly enough mountains. I have not bathed my feet in nearly enough streams and rivers or woken up enough with the sun’s rays filtering through the roof of a tent. I have not spent nearly enough time with friends and family, or drank nearly enough glasses of wine. I have not spent enough moments in His utter silence, or seen His face reflected in enough night skies.
It is enough, but yet, it isn’t.
[The eternal paradox of travel and of life.]
But that is another time, another “next.”
For now I am here. And I am happy.