Friday, April 25, 2008


Coming home always feels like stepping into an imprint of my memories, but like a spot the difference puzzle - some things have shifted to a different place, changed colour, or simply vanished. While I know that things can't stay the same, and my expectations have changed over time, it's weird when you walk down a road you've walked down countless times, and you're reaching for something that just isn't there any more. It's disorienting. Particularly when you idealise the place. Not that I think Catford is the, because it's really not; it doesn't have to be, though, because it's home, and that's far more affecting than some former paradise you once had a great holiday.

Today, I came home, and all those feelings and processes have resurfaced. The beauty of crossing the Thames, reminding me just why I feel the absence of a river where I live in NYC (maybe Brooklyn and crossing the river daily will change that, as and when we move?), and those sights that have been there for centuries, the cobbled together houses and Southwark Cathedral at Borough, the rooftops seen from the train; all these felt familiar, warm, comforting. The blossom in full effect, bluebells out everywhere, people cutting their hedges in their front gardens - front gardens! - were glorious. Yet I crash back to earth, with the ugly, stripped, mutilated magnolia tree in a garden of a deceased neighbour. She was a sweet lady, always friendly, and her garden was always heavenly in spring - anything you could name, bursting in colour. But what really hit me, every time, was the sight of that magnolia in spring - huge, dripping with the weight of its petals. And it's gone, to all intents and purposes. Why would you do that? Why not cut it entirely, rather than desecrate it?

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