Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The pull of the tides

One of my closest writing friends, whose words have nurtured me for more than three years on an almost weekly basis, wrote in her blog of the pull of the tides. It was ironic, a bit, as I too felt a pull--back to Cincinnati, to the space in Silverton where women write, read, listen and breathe; where ritual is queen; and where for two and a half hours each Monday night, there is freedom to transcend the now and glimpse the essence of your soul. I miss Monday nights. I miss Annette and Inga, Naomi, Rita and Peggy, Eve, Sally--and all of the women's voices I have grown to love to listen to over the semesters.

This is a time of transition--one that I feel I should be documenting more closely in my journal or on my blog--as my oldest goes to Kindergarten, my younger one approaches potty training, I embark on a new career, and I learn to love a new city and a new home. So much change.

We just returned from a trip to Chingford to visit my in-laws. It was remarkable to me how much things have changed from our visit two years ago. There are more grey hairs and creakier bones. Smells that were once erased by vigorous cleaning have taken up permanent root in the fibers of the home they have owned for more than 30 years. Local shops have shuttered or been reborn, hocking new wares that no longer feel necessary to scoop up and carry home. Even the West End--usually one of the highlights of the trip for me--lost its luster this time. Perhaps because it was August--typically a holiday month in Europe before the onset of autumn and the new school term. Maybe everything was overshadowed by the Olympics and Russia's quick-quell of the Georgian rebellion. Maybe I've grown jaded, or maybe more cosmopolitan in my months' inhabitance in an international city (I doubt it seriously). Or maybe I'm simply preoccupied with all of the change in my life.

It was an enjoyable two weeks; it went quickly but not too fast. Enough time to reconnect with family and a few friends, to take stock of our new lives, to watch our children fall in love all over again with English chocolate and crisps, Nanny and Per, Uncle Pemper and the rest of the extended family.

We had a private tour of Abbey Road studios and photographed ourselves (like idiots) crossing the crosswalk as the Beatles did. My husband took our nephew and had a tour of the new Wembeley stadium. He went to a football match and was towed away... making it the most expensive match he's ever attended ($600 all told).

And today, when a toy played "Jingle Bells," my daughter sang:

"Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way.
Oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away...."

without batting an eyelash.

I surpressed a laugh, and listened as she and her brother plotted out a new track for the trains on the train table, and then crawled into her bed. He asked if he could read her a story, and she said, "no, you can't read yet," and then relented--"well, you can try if you want to." He thinks he is going to Kindergarten with her next week, and no amount of explanation will convince him otherwise.

Off to finish the bedtime routine. There are more stories to be told, I am sure, but the pull of the children is stronger now than the pull of the tide, and I must obey.

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