Sunday, May 5, 2013

my words were cold and flat

Another winter day has come 
And gone away 
In Paris or Rome 
And I wanna go home 
Let me go home 
 And I’m surrounded by 
A million people 
I still feel alone, 
Let me go home 
--Michael Bublé's Home

Riding in a car that was driving on the right side of the road [paradigm shift], I sun-napped while Michael Bublé's silky voice came floating over the speakers:

Another aeroplane 
Another sunny place 
I’m lucky, I know
but I wanna go home.

I remembered the first time I found a home in London--when I walked into Brompton Oratory, a cold, small little child. I felt warm in the vast church.
As I walked through Brompton one last time before Mass began, I smiled at each little side chapel, and at the sunlight streaming into the dark church.
Tucked in the corner by the large tableau of the crucifixion, John Cardinal Henry Newman's altar shimmered of white marble and gilded letters that read:
Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem
It is incredible how you can be so cold, and then spring comes, and you seek refuge in the church, not from the cold, but from the heat.

Peter said to Paul: "You know all those words we wrote 
 Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go."
--Josh Ritter, Girl in the War

My heart ached a little bit each time I unzipped my purse pocket, expecting to fine my Conway Card or Oyster Card there, and finding it wasn't.
I resented the large green highway signs, longing to see the somewhat confusing white motorway signs that would say comforting things like:
Walsingham 3
Ambleside 10,
signaling that places you loved were just around the corner, or just another hike over the mountain.
I missed looking out of my front door, and seeing the sparkling Thames outside.
It is incredible how you can be such a stranger in a foreign land, and then you find that you've made it into a home somehow.
And when you return home, everything is new again.
The air smells like fresh oxygen, and not like eight million people blowing cigarette smoke into your lungs.
Each little restaurant selling burgers and fries is a tiny pocket of food heaven.
You notice the different kinds of dogs walking on the street, and the different kinds of clothes people are wearing.
And as you stand in the bathroom (which you don't have to pay 50 pence for [that's called freedom, folks. We won a war to attain that kind of privilege]), retching up the wretched microwave meal, courtesy of American Airlines,
you hear someone say: "It was so cold, it wasn't even funny."
And you grin, because those are the colloquialisms your ears missed hearing.

The world is a lot more magical and strange than I ever gave it credit for, and it continues to grow only more mystifying.
Which makes your mother's arms even more consoling.
There are few comforts as rich as finding yourself in a place where you irreplaceably belong.

Paul said to Peter: "you got to rock yourself a little harder
 Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire."
 "But I got a girl in the war, Paul, the only thing I know to do 
 Is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through."
--Girl in the War

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