Continuing what has been an unusually deep immersion into classical music over the past few days, I played the Jean-Yves Thibaudet recording of Erik Satie's Sarabandes tonight and was immediately cast back to the last time I played them.
This was in our aging Toyota Corolla, that by this time had amazed us all by flawlessly traversing the empty and lengthy roads of Quebec province far north of the St. Laurence estuary. Indeed we might have trekked all the way up to Labrador City had the road not changed from smooth asphalt to dust and gravel.
But that was a couple of days past, and now I was killing time waiting to join the ferry boat that would carry us south across the channel. Parked close to the shoreline, drinking a beer, and listening to Satie. I remember thinking how appropriate this most idiosyncratically French music was to this doggedly Frankophile town where I heard far less English than I would in any coastal village in France.
I did not want to go. I realise by now that I have a very easy time of settling into almost anywhere that I travel to, feeling within a day or two that I could live there for months. Perhaps being relatively well-traveled when young, as well as making the major shift of moving from one country across an ocean to another, has given me this facility. The downside is that I always find it hard to leave, and anywhere that captures my heart takes a little piece of it and holds it forever.
A small price to pay, I feel, for being able to embrace so many different places – in many ways, I feel like a world citizen. Consequently, I find myself out of sympathy with overtly and doggedly patriotic people. Ironically, many of the places where I feel most at home evidence precisely this trait in spades.
So am I always destined to be the traveler? Staying, from days to decades, in places yet always a little bit the outsider? Always able to see things from another culture's point of view, and in doing so capsizing the certainties that seem to glue local communities together?
I think so. As with everything in life, a little is lost and a little is gained by doing this. But it suits me.