I made it to Woodbrooke for my conferences and research!
My travels all went well. I departed on Monday evening. The flight was nice. While the sun did set, it never got completely dark. There was a band of orange twilight fading to a brilliant deep blue stretching from the north-northwest to the north-northeast, and I had a lovely view from my window seat. At 12:45 am (according to the time zone I was leaving), the sun rose again!
Trying unsuccessfully to sleep, I engaged in mental computations and realized that, flying east as we were on this plane, the combination of our speed and our crossing through time zones meant that each hour we traversed was only taking 35 minutes. Thus we managed to cover 12 hours in only 7 hours! (I like putting it this way. It shows a human-experiential form of the strange relativity of time and distance.)
Because I got so little sleep on the flight, it was hard not to doze off on the train ride to Birmingham, even though I was so happy to be here and loved looking out the window! From the train station, I took the bus to Woodbrooke. Even though it was more than two years ago that I had come before, it all felt so familiar again, and I was unbelievably happy to arrive. Even on the hair-raising bus ride, I found myself smiling uncontrollably, and at times laughing. I didn't care that the people around me might have been wondering about my sanity. "How and why could this scruffy traveler be so happy?" they may have wondered.
And then was the magical moment of walking up to and into the entrance of Woodbrooke. I felt like I was coming home again, back to a very important spiritual home for me.
I know it is the kind of place that a lot of people regard as an important spiritual home. We are very fortunate, those of us who find places like this in our lives!
I quickly got settled in. All traces of fatigue had evaporated -- my happiness blasted all the fatigue away. A few other early arrivals were happy to see me, and I was happy to see them. And I was delighted to greet again those who work at Woodbrooke who remember me from my visit from 2 years ago (and one who had been a resident with me during the year I was here a while back!).
Even though normally in life I am an introvert, some extrovert side of me emerges at times and in places like this! I chatted happily with people during tea, for the rest of the afternoon, over dinner, and after dinner.
At 9:00 pm local time, I did finally make it to bed (reluctantly skipping Epilogue -- just this once!) and had a pretty good night's sleep. At one point I woke up in the middle of the night at first thinking, "oh, it was just a dream -- I'm not really at Woodbrooke ... am I? Oh, wait, I am!" Amazed awe.
Thus begins my new journey...
5 years ago