THE LONG WAY HOME

 Hydrangea flowers and blue skies.

 

JUNE 5 2014

There are many things I will miss about Lyon. I will miss the time spent at Penny's warm flat, and making food together. I will miss my walks beside the Saône river, and the small spot on top of the Croix Rousse where you can watch the sun go down. (There are other things I definitely won't miss, such as the wind, which never fails to blow dust off the street into your eyes). However, I think the things I am going to miss the most are those things that have become so familiar to me, they could almost be my left knee. One of these things is the walk I take each day to get home. 

This trail to my small apartment has ingrained itself on the soles of my shoes, so that my feet take me down those streets without my brain uttering a word. It is the same feeling as those times when you find yourself driving to the wrong destination, simply because you are so used to driving this road, and turning at that corner. Then you feel like a bit of a twit.

My journey home changed within the first few weeks of being here. After becoming exasperated with the noise and the fumes from the constant stream of cars on the main road leading through Oullins, I turned down one of the small side streets. Ever since then, I enjoy taking the longer way home, with less cars and more silence. It feels good to hear your own footsteps on smooth pavement. The solidarity of my route has offered me times of reflection and moments of joy. I have even danced down that road, arms waving wildly. And, with each passing, back and forth, I begin to see more and more wonder in the world around me. So here it is: my long way home and all the small things I will miss...

 

 Raking my hand along the rungs of a fence.

Running my hand along the rungs of the green fence, till it makes a tingtingtingtingting noise.


 Turning to take the long way through Oullins.

Veering left into an oasis of calm.


 Passing the wisteria vines Oullins, France.
 Wisteria purple flowers and blue sky.

The fence with the beautiful blooms of wisteria flowers, which turn fragrant when the air is hot enough.


 Wisteria and leaves on a white washed house in Oullins, France.

Next is the whitewashed house, with tiny shutters and creeping wisteria.
I swoosh my fingers through the bright leaves.


 Standing on crunchy autumn leaves

The avenue of tall trees by the school, throwing down their leaves; which then scatter around till they dry up and are crunched under my foot.


 Passing under the hedge roof.

That roof of greenery.

 Crossing the cross walk in Oullins.

This small crosswalk.

Passing by the bakery that sells the worst, most stale bread in France,
and that one pub where the sleazy men lounge around drinking
at one in the afternoon.


 Flowers in giant pots, Oullins.

The ever-changing flower pots on the corner before the hill.
Tulips and crocuses, daisies and geraniums.


 The permanent construction zone, Oullins.

The never-changing construction zone.


 Saving snails from the footpath.

I am always saving snails.

 Looking up at the mailbox hole that is too high to reach.

This letterbox made for a giant.


 Walking on the white line.


Walking on the white line, the divide between bicyclists and pedestrians.
I like to watch the reflections from the street lamps skip ahead of me,
sparkling at night.

Farther up is the rosemary bush
where I throw my banana peels in the morning;
and that area where I like to save lost hedgehogs from being roadkill.


 Pot plant in the hallway of my apartment, Oullins.

The hallway plant, who greets me warmly outside my apartment as I push the key into the lock and jimmy it at the same time.


let’s go out past the party lights,
where we can finally be alone
come with me, and we can take the long way home
come with me,
together,
we can take the long way home.
— NORAH JONES