As someone I know seeks nature when she travels, it seems I seek liquid--large bodies of water, and the caffeinated sort served in cafes. They are the small references to home I need when I miss my kitchen and long for fresh pajamas.
When one of these cafes has a view of a lake, serves good espresso, and just happens to have a buckwheat crepe with rhubarb compote on the menu, well, there is a moment of bliss. Until some very loud women sit beside me and I know my moment has expired, and my attempts to drift back into my novel will be futile.
I take a slow walk and explore the warm tree lined streets.
I am resilient. My optimism returns, and I am off to another cafe, one housed in a beautiful old hotel. The espresso is not as good, but there is a tall ceiling, large windows, and Limonata. It seems the sort of space where everyone can do as they please and still peacefully coexist. I expect the noise to disappear into the ceiling, but it does not. It passes through the tiles on the second floor and settles into the dark wood floor below. I write. It is the perfect place, for a while, but it does not last.
I have found many people to be much louder than I'd like, and my findings are not geographically specific, but perhaps magnified when away from home.
This sort of travel, jumps versus long stays, stunts my writing. I allow it so I can be with someone I love. I adjust to these setbacks and hope when I am old I will not regret these days, but look back and think nice balance, good choices.
Although it slows me down, the distance from my work permits a return with fresh eyes and a less subjective emotional attachment. It reminds me of Hank. I was a teaching assistant for him while I was in graduate school. Hank, known to most as Henry, is a great photographer. He is also an engaging conversationalist, when he is in the mood. I learned some interesting things about him during our time together.
Hank makes photographs every single day, but once he prints his contact sheets he files them away and does not look at them again for at least a year. He believes the time gives him distance and the ability to view the work more critically. He also told me that he angled for allowing the whole book, museum, gallery craziness to enter his life only once per decade. He found it a distraction.
Hank can be very charismatic, but he is an artist, not a performer. It is the making that he loves most. He has his priorities in order.
And there were lilacs in the church courtyard.