travel

Another Kind of Homecoming

And I’m off again after being in Newfoundland for just shy of four weeks. Got myself topped up on hugs and live music and greasy takeout and now I’m in Wales, hanging out with a pair of cats in a forest village.

It’s called a forest village for real. There’s a bus that goes into Swansea a couple of times a day, except Sundays. There’s a stop for a more frequent bus about 20 minutes’ walk from here. I’m told the nearest supermarket is about 40 minutes away by foot. But what there is near here is a network of woods trails. And a convenience store that serves hot Indian takeout on the weekends, if you place your order midweek.

I feel my heart rate slowing down; I’m breathing more deeply.

Maybe I wasn’t in Newfoundland long enough. It was a whirlwind of catch-up visits, of unpacking and repacking. The emotional disruption of revisiting the spaces of my past lives caught me by surprise. Some conversations I had while I was at home felt like transactions conducted in outmoded currencies–I didn’t think I needed this kind of coin anymore and here I am now coming up short. There were fun times too, and I even made a few new friends. There just wasn’t enough time to process it all, and also not enough time to settle into my own rhythm.

It’s my first time in Wales. The woman whose home I’m sitting left me a binder full of tourist information. Since arriving four days ago, I’ve been reading books and writing in my journal. And walking in the woods, my ears shifting between the two side-by-side frequencies of birdsong and buzzing bees. One of these days I’ll catch the bus into the city. And another day I’ll catch the bus that takes me to some castle ruins. Just not yet.

Right now it’s a tempo. Retrain my brain to read a poem, teach my body to stay in a chair for the length of time it takes to get to the end of a chapter. Remind my hands of the sensuality of drawing pen across paper, and the other sensuality of holding that pen still until the next thought comes. Moving back into the cottage in the forest village of my mind, open the windows wide to the fresh air and sunlight, and remember how it feels to be truly at home.

 

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