There was a quote that I wish so dearly that I could find. It said that our home is wherever our heart tells us we belong. For over a decade now I have believed that.
I long for this place in a way that transcends wanderlust, discards passing fancy, and laughs in the face of whim. It pulls upon my heartstrings like a lost love that I have not yet met.
Start with an empty beach. The sand is coarse, laid out like a pane of glass by the tide. Rocks lead into cliffs on one side. Beyond them, green hills roll out and away. A setting sun paints rain-bearing clouds a deep golden red. A cool wind whips your hair and makes you huddle deeper into your cardigan as you turn into it and breathe.
Noise. City nose. A hum in the back of your skull as you cross a square, but you can still hear the water in the fountains. The wind tries in vain to snap at a banner hung between pillars as you climb the steps. Into the cooler, darker air. Everything is more hushed here. You hope in reverence for the lives and creations hung upon the walls. Art across centuries. Canvases of history’s passing.
All the buildings are stone. The walls. Not the hearts. Everyone knows everyone’s name in this little village. The pub is it’s beating heart, the few streets it’s veins.
A curving road through fog. Winding between hills scantily clad in heather. Wonder if you should be afraid if your car should break down. Stop wondering when you round a bend and a lake spreads out like a mirror in the still morning. Breathe the damp. The stillness. Let it envelop you and imagine the whole world is still sleeping.
Stillness again, musty this time. Old books casting their particles into the air. Later your head will pound but for now you are among the words of men both great and small. A collection of treasures, some more beautiful than any crown.
Light through stained glass. This is not Rome, but why should it be less grand? Ceilings that peak high above you. You may topple over if you crane your head too far back, trying to take it all in at once. Wonder how it feels when it is completely empty and still. Wonder if the sound of your own breath might echo off these pillared walls.
Bridges in moonlight. Streets in lamplight. Landscapes that have been painted, that have inspired, that have been changed. Darkened theatres, listening to words old and new. Busy streets full of strangers pursuing their lives.
On and on I could go. Ancient and modern meeting in a dance. Not always delicate, not always light, but always alive.