Like a Tide

Now I've been travelling around Europe for nearly two months now as part of my hiatus--my planned transition from studies to "real life" (what ever that's supposed to mean). And with my return to Toronto just around the corner, I'm beginning to panic. I've got just a little over a week left and the thought of normalcy and the routinary is freaking me out a bit.

I took a day trip out to Aachen, Germany yesterday and among other cultural sights, I visited their St. Mary's Cathedral. Mediocre and pretty standard (at least from a non-architectural eye) from the outside, I was completely taken aback by the interior. Literally jaw-droppingly breathtaking. With stained glass windows that seemed to stretch for miles above me and ceilings decorated so tastefully, it was like no other I'd seen before. Glittering with gold, a style I usually despise, it was not a pompous show of wealth but rather, an artistic statement of the time. I don't do it justice with my words, but you'd understand had you seen it with your own eyes.

But anyway, while I was in the Cathedral today, I thought of how much I would miss that unmistakeable feeling of awe and wonderment every time I see or learn something new about a particular site. The unadulterated amazement I had as I walked through the streets of Luxembourg during the Grand Duke's party...of being in and above the clouds at Mount Pilatus...of feeling the vibrance and continued post-liberation spirit of Berlin...of being faced with the cruelty in Dachau...of meeting new people from around the world from different walks of life with their own stories to tell...as I first set eyes on the ruins of the ampitheater, the sight of that little bridge between the Gruuthuis and the Church of Our Lady, the view from St. Mike's Bridge in Ghent, the grandeur of the David, the unbelievably blue lakes of Interlaken, and now, the beauty of St. Mary's. That feeling of being connected...however briefly, however superficially...to  the immense history of man...grand, tragic, joyous. That feeling of connection with the many people I've met along my travels, almost strangers really but with whom I'll always share a moment.

Amazement, gratitude, pride, excitement, and disbelief all mashed together in a violent wave of emotion. Is there a single word to describe that feeling? Like a tide...rising and falling always.

Whatever it is...I'm sure to long for these moments when I return home, however sweet home may be. How many times will I replay these moments in my mind?...trying to pick up the remnants, recapture glimpses...however small, however brief. Oh le sigh!