Friday 23 May 2014

the tourist

To walk the streets of your home-town, the beaches of your home-shore, the paths of your home-forest, is to see not just what is but what used to be.  It is to find yourself a tourist in your native land, to suddenly find yourself a stranger, a tourist seeing not just how it is but also how it used to be.

In the town, American coffee-shops and charity shops have sprung forth where greengrocer's and baker's once stood.

In the forest, new shoots pierce the earth beside pine trees that have toppled to the forest floor.

Beside the sea, the ebb and the flow of the tides, the winter storms have shifted the sands and shingle along the shore-line.

There is movement, new life and decline around every street corner, every bend in the path.

Everywhere is overlaid with the bustle of the past, with people and places that are no longer here but who linger on in my heart.

To walk as a tourist-local is to have double vision, and ability to see the past and the present simultaneously. It is a condition I possess here and only here.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly how I felt about visiting Sussex when I lived in Brussels. Memories of a place become so much more intense when you don't spend your time building new memories on top of them every day. It's quite weird.