If you live in the shadow of the mythic embarking on any sojourn requires patience.
A car. A bus. A pause and another bus. A rainy night in a B&B in Cavan Town where the upstairs neighbours were an army rampaging in stiletto heels. Imperfect pillow with sleep interrupted at two hour internals. (Did they fall out of bed upstairs?) Gave up sleep at 5:15. Meanly contemplated turning TV on really loud as vengeance upon the heavy footed folk on the upper floor. Mastered self and let it go.
Pull the 12.5 kilo wheely suitcase down the Main Street, lugging 7.5 kilos on my shoulder. And an unestimated weight in the Tardis that masquerades as the handbag for this sojourn, hanging bandolier style across the rain coat that covers the sweater coat. Layers being the the fashion solution for a sojourn in Britain in March when the weather is decidedly bipolar.
A mini-bus with eleven virtual strangers with a seat mate gradually becoming less strange as we bond over dog adulation and the necessity of the Platonic ideal of a comfortable pillow for sleep. Belfast International. Why does every airport in the world have a modernist metal gateway arch? Sort of brutalist in a Stalinist approved art form way.
Yet again set off the metal detector. Humiliation of assuming the position in stocking feet. The randomness of it. No, it is not the titanium in my ankle setting if off. If you say so. Feeling tickled as I got frisked around my waist.
The passivity and quiet of the departure queues. Airplane as sardine tin, packed in, knee joints locked as wing flaps up.
The brutalist metal gateway. Manchester Airport seems to have one, too. Or am I dreaming this in my weariness?
Medieval travel as Basho wrote of it in his haibun could not be more brutal than the purgatory of the Departure Lounge.
Tomorrow embarking further- a tram, a train, a taxi, Arvon. Tonight another pause in the sojourn. A new pillow to sample, to wrestle, to embrace with/towards unconsciousness.
Bee Smith is travelling in March 2014 with the Leonardo da Vinci Life Long Learning Programme “Developing Creative Practice Across Borders” to Yorkshire and Lancashire organised by the Cavan Arts Office.