“Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another.” – Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault
Back in the +44 in January, turning all those familiar corners, taking to the old sunlit streets like a fish to water, everything so starkly familiar, as though I had been gone a long time, as though I hadn’t been gone at all.
Is 10 days enough? I saw Constable’s paintings at the Victoria & Albert, made a visit to East London, passed the New Year on Primrose Hill, had high tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, met my favourite people for dinner, watched the Curious Incident, did a speedy run of Oxford Street, had a night walk by the river, had Dutch Pancakes and Ramen, sat in friend’s kitchens, made a quick visit to Camden High Street, ate my favourite yogurts and drank Kefir, went home with 9 boxes of Special K Biscuits.
But I didn’t get to see Turner’s paintings at Tate. I didn’t get to walk through Regent’s Park, or supermarket hop. I would have liked to watch another play, visit more people, see more of London that I hadn’t seen before. Much of the time I admit to huddling, freezing, in the room my friends kindly let me stay in. The England weather is forever unrelenting.
I sensed time passing, things changing from the time I was studying there. Everything a little colder and emptier, the streets containing less emotion than they did before. Still, with its gentle nostalgic light, this place is a comfort to me.
“The wings I had on my back, I will not need them anymore”