tractor beanWe have returned home after a month exploring the wine regions of Northern Italy, a month of glorious food and wine, charming landscapes, and warm hospitality–plus 1 cancelled flight, a vicious cold virus that had us dragging for days and the constant grind of figuring out how things work in an unfamiliar place. (Apparently becoming Italian means learning to tailgate at 130 kph.)

The return home after such a trip is never really a return. We change as we travel, in ways that are often not apparent, and at home, in our absence, life moves on, proof that we are all replaceable. Homecoming is more like recalibration than a return.

This sense of recalibration was enhanced by a decision I made on the flight to Europe to forgo writing for the duration of the trip. For me, not writing is like not living, the first thing I think about in the morning and the last before falling asleep. But recently I have been craving release from this compulsion, wondering what it would be like to be free of the need to explain, describe or justify.

Alas, all liberations are temporary. The allure of home just is the allure of old habits re-asserting themselves, new forms of enchainment in the guise of familiarity.

The feeling of being drawn back in,  the past as tractor-beam, is one of the pleasures of home.

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