A Week Less Ordinary
Sitting in the sunshine with a mind finally free of the clinging tendrils of jet lag I hear the far off rumble of an invisible plane high up in the sky and I smile wistfully. I returned a few days ago from a short stay in a London cloaked in an unfamiliarly autumnal garb. Having been on this side of the Atlantic during the colder months of the year for several years I’d been eagerly anticipating the chance to rejoin the seasonal flow of England-even if just for a brief moment.
From the moment I landed London did not disappoint. I spent the week immersed in a series of experiences that flowed one to the next with painful clarity and vivid force. From mornings spent with my father and the dog in the park amidst orange heaped leaves while the November light shone either clearly crisp or dully grey above us to coming indoors after evening rendezvous and remembering again the feeling of warmth after the cold outdoors, the days passed with lightning speed and always there was the freedom of walking.
Arriving in mid November I joined the ordinary movement of a working week and this normality was strangely comforting. Watching school children walking in the gathering dusk, sipping coffee amidst the city buzz in St Paul’s or simply retracing my own oft trod route of yore to Hammersmith tube and nodding to the friendly ghost of time past, I felt the continuation of the parallel life we left behind eight years ago and drew strength and ease from it.
I walked through Dawson Place on the last full day of my stay and I suddenly realized why I am able to leave London with an unfractured heart. A beautiful and ancient place such as this has no reason to feel insecure in contrast to her brasher New York relative. Precisely because she is anchored firmly in the fertile ground of her own long history and memory she twines her roots around your heart with ease. In truth, an important part of me has never left London and an important part of London has never left me. I carry her with me in my heart wherever I happen to be.
Now back in the warmth of a sunshine filled Los Angeles afternoon I listen to If You See Her Say Hello from the wonderful new More Blood More Tracks. As the final line of the song washes over me I close my eyes and am once again amidst the rain of a London that walks in Autumn.