Home again? Yes, in a way. The skies greeted me with low, swiftly moving clouds, a dash of rain and a familiar language. The railroad is by far the best way to get between countries. It's less jarring, easier to decompress on both sides, and gorgeous to watch out the window.
Isn't it funny how the train leaves London and winds through a softly sloping countryside, muted with fog and short cropped grasses, ravines filled with snuggling trees and snapshots of water. Ground is cut in pieces, farmland produces edibles, cows relax or munch and lorries bring things to and fro. The train speeds up and soon an announcement comes that we are about to enter the transatlantic tunnel. We will be in darkness for about twenty minutes. You look around. Could you have heard that correctly?
Twenty minutes to go under a massive, thick, heavy body of water which separates two distinct countries?
When the train re-surfaces everything is exactly the same. Countryside stretches in all directions, corn grows in fields, trucks have moved to the other side of the road, but they are doing the same job. Birds fly in clusters, men walk the fields with yellow plastic buckets in knee high rubber boots.
Who creates borders? Who divides them? How are languages formed?
Are languages like acorns the floods move around, growing new trees where traveling waters settle?
In England, like Ireland, more rainfall produces a lushness that is almost obscene. A seeming density of leaves and grasses is just that. Thick, impermeable. Mists and fog roll lazily, skies are layered clouds, not just a flat grey sky but a sampling of down comforter covers. The sky is endlessly changing, running and galloping just overhead.
Island Light. Slippery, rippling water reflected in torn clouds like a loaf of good bread at the table. Fall comes with a roar in New York, a tease in California, and a shift in London. A trickery of sorts.
My last days here will be filled with images to remember, meals with friends, introspective walks with camera in hand, looking for the exact right gifts for those I love, going back to the places I always go back to, just to watch them over time.
In the end that's why I travel. To live. To stand in the same spot.
And to see how much we've all changed.