I am on the way to London with my daughter. The dislocation of travelling always strikes me. Going from the quiet valley where I live to the hustling, siren wailing, constant traffic hub that is the capital. The speed that everyone walks at and the closed faces of distrust. This combines, paradoxically, with the wonder of a city where everything is happening and culture seems to ooze from every pore.
The train journey is that conduit between one life and another. A lovely young couple just sat opposite us, cool in straw hats, and the girl carrying a pink rose. She is sleeping now and he is tapping his mobile and reading.
Lives cross for an instant and then part, flowing into the anonymity of the city. What makes sense of all this life?
The metaphor of travelling; we sense we are moving, in our life’s journey, from one place to another, from one state to another. When something impedes or cause a disruption to that sense of flow we know it.
We can ignore that and carry on regardless, but the feeling of being out of kilter will only persist and, unnervingly often get worse. Chance meetings or re-acquaintances can be the catalyst that draw us back. Others, if they are at home on their path, can help us own up to our dislocation, and work again to get in touch with our rich centre.
I am going to see King Lear on Tuesday, a birthday present from my daughters! Lear travels through a strange phase – demanding love from his daughters – to madness on the heath – and back to sanity. Too late to save Cordelia the one who really loves him, but he does return to wisdom, tinged with grief. The liminality of royal dislocation is archetypal. We all have these periods the key is how we travel through them.
We all, I deeply believe, have a centre that connects us with the universal journey. Even a short trip can put me back in touch with this truth.