Good ol’ plucking of the heartstrings

Travel without Traveling

A little over a year ago, we travelled to the US from Scotland. It was a terrible journey. Our time in the US was great but the actual travelling bit before and after was quite the opposite. Upon arriving in the US, the first thing we had to do, like in all countries, was to get through border control. Normally, we are super prepared for this as frequent international travellers and all…no big deal. (I have written about this once or twice.) However, one of the officers (who is just doing his job so no hard feelings there) called my husband aside to investigate his immigration status since he used to have a green card. My husband’s selectively poor memory didn’t help because he couldn’t remember some of the important details required. This resulted in a /two hour/ wait while the officers researched the aforementioned forgotten information. During this period of passport purgatory, my Mom, who travelled two hours to pick us up, waited in baggage reclaim with no way of contacting us. Finally, after being cleared to enter the country, we discovered that our airline (no names here…) lost my husband’s bag which, due to a zip code error, wasn’t returned to us for a week! Sigh….

So, like most journeys, there was a return trip to contend with as well. You would think that we could only have so much bad luck on one trip, surely it would be smooth sailing? (I wanted to put a pun in here about sailing and travelling but boats and planes don’t really cross paths all that much.) No, that was not going to be the case. The travel gods had more in store for us. Upon our entry back into the UK via London, our late flight meant we missed our second flight by twenty minutes. With not enough seats available on any other flights they put us on standby with the option of sitting around in the airport for many more hours to see if, by chance, seats would become available on any of those flights. If we thought that passport control on our first flight was long, we were about to see a whole new world of boredom. Many, many, hours later we had no option but to get a hotel for the night. No flights had become available for us. The grown-ups could not be less thrilled while the kids burst with new burst of energy for this part of our adventure! After all, the trip to the hotel involved a bus ride with no car seats.

The point of this entire story is the business class lounge passes they gave us while we waited. Now, I am no stranger to a business class lounge, I boastfully and shamefully admit, but my kids are definitely not accustomed to that style of travel…nor is my husband. The free food enraptured my kids while my husband wandered around like a lost cat bringing me ‘gifts’ to pass the time. Finally, he brings me something which is a staple of business class lounges the world over: free culture magazines.

One such magazine that my husband grabbed is ‘Cereal’. As I flicked through I came upon an article that struck me to the core. So much so that I decided to keep this copy of the magazine with the plan of framing this particular article: ‘A Horizon Within’ by Richard Aslan (The original article is within Cereal Magazine Vol 15 link here, and some more of Richard’s work can be found here.) On my first read through I was nearly weeping. It summed up my soul and exposed the heart of my life. Because of this, no words can really describe the depth of this piece. Consequently, if you are made the same way I am this article will move you. I couldn’t even begin to paraphrase it so I will share my favourite parts with you. Picking up this piece to re-read has been the highlight of my day. A good ol’ plucking of the heartstrings.

“Some of us are born with a crack in our souls. Itchy feet. Eyes that are unable to focus on anything other than the far-flung. We were folded once, and then left like that for too long; there is a line inside us. I know it is there, because it speaks to another line, outside. They whisper at one another, gaze at one another. They will never rest until they are moving closer. There can be no doubt; the line outside beckons; this simple fold between land and sky. It is the answer to a complex equation, made trickier by topography, trees, the jumble of the city, and the relative density of air. It is a trip of the eye brought about by the curvature of the Earth, muddled with atmospheric haze. I align the fold inside me to it, just as I point my deckchair to the sea.

I have, at times, tried to ignore its call. But the horizon is demanding. Its desire to draw me ever closer gnaws at my dreams, crawls across those quiet moments where I should find contentment…”

“I sit, breathing hard. In wonder. In the books on my shelves; a life inserted like a pressed flower between each pair of pages. The pictures on my wall; lives captured in light and squeezed under sheets of glass. A named signed with the drag of a stylus through wet ink. Threads dampened with someone’s spit pressed between someone’s forefinger, someone’s thumb. Each spice a childhood memory. Every note sung, plucked, or struck the beat of a heart folded in two with a horizon of its own. The fold in me reaches for the fold in the other. The horizon is the point we meet. As I reach, so I am reached for. As I am the starting point, so I am someone else’s destination. I travel without travelling. I do without going. I feel myself transported towards all these unknowable others. Symmetry without rotation or return. This is the search, I realise. *To really move is to be moved.*Each journey can only end not somewhere, but with someone.”

Our lives are often filled with moments of waiting much like a waiting room at border control or a lounge in an airport. Time can seem to stand still in these moments. Each tick and each tock, stretching into eons. It’s in these moments that the demands of the horizon become the loudest. Calling out, refusing to be ignored. But sometimes that horizon is not far off in the distance. A physical place which must be journeyed to. Sometimes it’s a place within our hearts, a journey that can be taken within the pages of a magazine.

***

In today’s post, I would love to share Katie’s maternity session. This session is one of my absolute favourites! The weather was perfect. The scenery was perfect. These two are perfect. I enjoyed meeting them both and loved chatting with Katie and her mom (an American who has lived here for years). They have such a charming farm and a kitchen I can only dream of having! Farm style kitchen? Yes please! 

Enjoy these photos of the beautiful Katie!

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