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Swing into Fall - Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022
Monday, Aug. 01, 2022 @ 1:51 am
I sit in the small garden of our rented apartment. I lit candles, and the plants (lavender, rosemary, bougainvillea) cast shadows against the thick walls that surround the garden. Stars above in the clear black sky. The chirp of bats. The apartment is built on a hill, and over the tops of the plants I gaze at the illuminated walls of the medieval fortress.
A warm wind against my skin. I sit out in the night wearing a camisole, and I hug my bare knees to my chest. A glass of cold rose.
I've seen a lot in the last three weeks. I've visited three countries for the first time, navigated three languages that are foreign to me. Learned about history that occurred in my lifetime, albeit when I was too young to understand.
The sun. The heat. The thunder and lightning storms, both in Ljubljana and Kotor. The constant buzz of cicadas. Salt on my skin, in my hair. The rattle of the train. The tiny spoons that accompany tiny cups of espresso.
Being sick forced me to slow down, to spend more time in cities than on trails in mountains. Maybe I learned something through this, maybe I gained rather than lost.
I can be in the mountains any time that I want at home.
The smooth, worn down stone on which I’ve walked in these medieval walled towns has carried the weight of hundreds, in some cases thousands, of years of history. I pass through - a slip of nothing - the stone leaving more of an impression on me than me on it. This is not the soft, easily-broken forest floor.
Here in this walled garden I am content. I'm so glad to have travelled, to have moved through the discomforts of being in a different culture, to have tasted new food and wandered cities without a map just for the adventure.
I blow out the candles and head back into the apartment, ducking under my laundry drying on the clothesline. I glance back at the fortress, then forward into the bedroom where Russell is already in the bed.
I realize why traveling has felt so different this time, different from any time that I've travelled before.
It's because he feels like home.