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Crossing contours: The passage of time and the influence of travel

The path heaped with autumn leaves after a storm.

From the small window of the aeroplane, you could see a defined line, circling the Alps. A line more clear, more smooth than a  contour on a map. While winter has come for the bronze mountains, it has not yet reached the dark green valley.

I see no defined line, but I know that as the seasons change, travelling is changing me.

Outside the apartment, the sky is cold grey and holds a chill. Its blue shades contrast with the warm gold autumn leaves and the red brick of the square tower. Inside I’m warm. The gentle Italian man whose life I am borrowing pours my coffee. We talk about the migration patterns of birds. He comes alive as he talks.

I’m constantly delighted, yet the toll of this onslaught of experiences can’t be ignored. How many miles have I gone? How many welcoming smiles? My mind snuggles in my bed, deep beneath the covers, hiding from the chill. Who is around? What obligations have I today? My determination to have a discipline shrivels up like those autumn leaves that float down from the sky, dragged around by the momentum of the air. Whistled away.

Yet, often I wake early, thrilled to see dawn. There’s an energy that’s warm like the sun which gets into my bones. I want to write or draw before I even rise for breakfast. Everything’s bright and I’m alive.

Boundaries and walls are the art of my mind. Where are they? I want to know.

I’m painting with my questions, drawing in experience. It’s a gale. My hair blows free behind me. I’m living all at once at the excitement of the new – a castle, a trampoline, shellfish. I pull my coat around me tight, bind my scarf around my neck and tug at the worn gloves hiding my fingers. The stillness in uneasy, anxious hours of fares and tickets is taxing too. Back and forth. Weather never stops.

Written Modena, November 2016.