Friday, January 26, 2018

For Auld Lang Syne

26th January 2018

I flew into Edinburgh, city of my birth, today, in winds so wild, it felt like being in a child's plastic toy plane being swung on a piece of elastic. Whenever I touch down in my native country, my lungs involuntarily expand and then let out the air as though they had been waiting all this time to properly exhale. I am home. I have spent the last almost thirty years in the United States, but my body fits into this country, and no matter how I try to fit it elsewhere, the hand of who am I  just doesn't fit into any other glove. I took my first breath in Scotland's capital city. Some part of my body cannot forget that. Some part of my apparatus recorded its malt-smelling, castle swirling, first action. This is the wet garden for me, sprung in completeness, and no other garden with any other smells or sights will ever move into this sacred garden.

Though I had flown over five thousand miles, with only the barest of naps in the tight space allotted to those who were not among the high-flyers, my first instinct upon disembarking was to steer my trolley into the nearest tea vendor and sit in the window with the rain falling slow against the glass and sip. It is a British reflex, this comfort hole of tea drinking. It was wild and windy and rainy outside, and I had to get to where I was going, but instead I stopped and sat and felt as one does back in a lovers arms after a long absence.


Little wonder then that I have spent my last thirty years in exile, conjuring for myself what all this  means. My writing track is pretty well grooved at this point, an archaeologist not of shards but of blood and guts, of the Scottish sinew that pulls me taught and is tied to the land like the bones of a farmer buried in his own tilled field. That is who I am.

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