It’s been a long, long while. My silence on the page has not equated with a silence in the mind.
This April marked 10 years since my last visit to my homeland and what was once home in that most abstract sense. So, so much has happened in that time on both sides of the pond and in both of the worlds my life now straddles. In short, life happened, both for me and for those who remained ‘there’.
Whilst, physically, I occupy a space far removed from what was once and in some ephemeral sense will always be my home, the persistence of that life and all the various actors in it pulls and tugs and in some ways torments me. As much as I have come to love my European life, I long for the quiet familiar of people and things I’ve known in the way you know a crack in the ceiling which has existed for as long as you can remember. Mostly, I miss individuals and the moments shared with them.
The wonder that is the virtual world, which is all too real today as technology outpaces our comprehension of it, has made connecting with and communicating vastly easier and instantaneous. Yet, face-to-face sit downs over coffee, tea, wine, bourbon and beer (not all at once, mind — the particular bevie depends on the person, circumstance and time of day, naturally), coupled with cuisine that is thoroughly representative of a country known for its adolescent gluttony are what I miss most. Seeing the gentle (and perhaps glaring) reality checks that time has indeed passed up close and personal feels somehow necessary. Being able to hear and feel an old friend’s voice and silent breath seems priceless at the moment. And, yes, perhaps finally and definitively laying to rest a few ghosts from days’ past has weighed (at times, heavily) on my mind.
Perhaps this longing and need have made finding my voice and putting down those thoughts in some sort of coherent mess so tedious as of late. Sure, life and with that I mean work has occupied much of that mental space normally reserved for the cathartic purging of the mind. But, carving out time to process the beauty, joy, mind-bendingly absurd, action-inducing rage and mundane helps clarify where I need to go next, what I need to ‘focus’ on and where most of my energy should be spent. It helps highlight what is important and what is essentially trivial non-sense. And, it reminds me of just how far I’ve come and how much I want to still accomplish on this crazy journey.
Still, memory is a funny thing.
I think it was my first trip to the UK when I learned of the Remembrance Poppy. When I see poppies now, I remember. I remember those who I cannot be with for whatever reason. Lately, I am remembering the home that was, whilst also realising how fortunate I am to have found a new one. I wonder if that persistent tug of war between the two will ever ease.
In many ways, I hope it doesn’t.