The first time your feet touched foreign soil
you expected more difference,
to feel more out of place and lost
and less like you had come home
to a place you had never been before.
Life became a puzzle, the figuring out of signs
and places, strange foods and drink.
There was an Alice in Wonderland feel
as every ordinary thing became new,
the simplest act a new discovery.
Landscapes. Flowers. Homes. Roads.
The buying of foods. The foods themselves.
The smells! The colors! Ah the colors!
Rediscovering green in England.
Sunlight in Italy. Beautiful mutedness in Amsterdam.
Munich’s rainy nights of light.
Colors and fashion and commerce
that do not exist in your quiet corner of the universe.
It is exhausting, all this newness.
And exhilerating your brain,
once so comfortable, suddenly challenged,
unsure and eager, both,
history and fantasy and film suddenly
the stuff of reality,
Stone you can touch,
lawns your bare feet can walk on,
Strange animals that come to your oustretched hand.
Tastes that change your very concept of food.
And so it is that you come to this place in your own land
where change is bearing down like a summer storm,
and you prepare your heart for all that is new,
half afraid, and half eager as a child,
wondering what new thing
you will become.
About this poem
Life is changing. Again.
I love to travel. I would be happy traveling all the time.
That place of half fear, half anticipation is pretty much my constant state.
The painting is titled “African Delta.” It is by Sandra Spahr and is on display at the Southern Vermont Arts Center.
And from that mix, this poem.