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settling, gently, like a leaf

Col de Soulor, first snowJet lag, that great discombobulator, has always been a state I love.  I love the way it reminds me that I just came from another time, that I am suspended, temporarily, between two realities.  I have great memories of sitting up in the middle of the night in some hotel in Jakarta or Jerusalem or Cusco, laptop on a pillow, writing, and feeling like I was unhitched from everybody else's clock, floating along entirely in my own time.  I really, really love that feeling.

But this time it's kind of kicking my ass.

Probably it's the sinus infection/barking cough I picked up in week 2 of our Pyrenean adventure, or maybe it's age, but this time, I'm not loving it quite so much as before.  

I know, I know: it's different on the way back.

I remind myself that the jetlag when arriving in a new place is always more enjoyable than on the return to the familiar.  I have a lot of experiene with this, but I still need reminding.  Here at home in my kitchen I am surrounded by the remains of our exploded suitcases, contents not quite put away.  OK, if I'm being honest, I think I put away my socks but everything else is still in my bag, except the chocolate and honey which moved to a spot on the kitchen counter.  There just hasn't been time yet, really, since we arrived home at 5pm on Wednesday, I headed back out to the supermarket, where I pushed the cart around like a zombie and hoped I wouldn't see anyone I knew who'd expect a coherent sentence out of my mouth, then home with burritos and cough syrup and dead-asleep by 7 pm. 

Yesterday I stumbled out of work at 5pm, bleary, and was asleep by 7:30.  I suppress the barking cough with Nyquil and wake up every two hours, wide-awake, check my watch, go back to sleep, decide finally at 4 that it's no longer too early to start drinking coffee.  And get started.

Which brings me to right now.

I feel OK, actually.  I'm tired of coughing, but when I look around (even at the un-put-away detritus of our trip which would normally drive me crazy), I'm still so happy to be here now that I set aside my planning for the next trip for a little bit and just enjoy ocupying this space now.

Before leaving on this vacation, I had only one goal for my time away, really, and that was to relax and enjoy being in the house of my ancestors on my own for the first time.  I did that.  We moved furniture and cleaned and cleared out the barn and catalogued and organized and cleaned and put away and cleaned. And did I mention: cleaned? We had a car and toured around, seeing towns and valleys and gorges I don't remember ever seeing before.  We walked and hiked and cooked and ate and played cards, lots of cards.  And I read 6 books.  But I will admit that on the second to last day or so, I did have a moment of being bored (bored!), and wishing to be home, of powerfully missing my dog, of wanting to lay my little head down on my very own pillow.

And wishing for non-stop wifi and stores open at lunchtime and the godless, rule-less freedom of home. 

Now after a really long return -- I swear we were in transit for 48 hours, one way or the other -- our time in Arrens seems like a dream from which I've awakened.  Or maybe I'm still sleeping, I can't really tell.

It's a funny thing, right.  While you're there, while you're in it, it's all there is.  Then you come back, and it's this.

It never stops being miraculous, this notion that we enter this metal tube with wings that flies and transports us from one place to another.  The doors on the tube close on one place and re-open on another, and we walk out into something different.  That's some serious magic.

Coming home is another kind of magic, into which I'm settling slowly, like a leaf, letting gravity and jet lag take me, coming down gently onto the ground.  I look around and yeah, it's a bit of a mess, but it's mine and I love it.


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