Once a Swan…

January 22nd, 2011

I’m not an EAT PRAY LOVE person. Travel has never transformed me, but I think I made the mistake of believing this trip would change me — into a swan, the person I’ve always wanted to be. And of course I thought it might heal some loss and like a Magic 8 Ball, give me the answers I’ve been seeking. As far as the healing goes, I feel quite close here in London to the man I loved, the one I lost. I think of him walking these streets years ago, right after we fell in love and he moved here for a year. I wish he could know that feral foxes are living in the heart of the city and terrorizing its neighborhoods because I know it would delight him. Thirty years ago he was writing me letters from here about the resurgence of wildlife in urban areas. Sometimes it makes me cry to think of him here and sometimes it makes me happy, so I guess all of that is part of closing a wound and a door. Answers to my life questions, though, have been thin on the ground. In fact, I feel more confused than I did before I arrived. And I’m no better at traveling, still hate being out of control of my environment, still get exhausted by grappling with newness. ┬áBut I’m better at just going and doing. Finding the right Tube, reading the map, getting lost and then finding my way home. I like the days when I’m walking through the city or riding the bus and just Being. Being silent and accepting and alone and invisible. That is healing. And I’m trying to remember that I was born a swan, that we all were. It’s just easier sometimes and safer to lead an ugly duckling life. If I learn one thing from this trip, I hope it will be how to reclaim my swan-ness.

5 Responses to “Once a Swan…”

  1. Jodi says:

    Cheers to that! Lots of healing love on your travels!

  2. Diane says:

    To get better at “going and doing” is no small feat, Nikki, Hooray for you! Willing to get lost and find your way home? You get extra credit for that. Answers to your life questions? They’re probably not in London or any other city, but I think it’s lovely to have the chance to ask those questions in a variety of settings. I believe that something is happening to you, and I think it’s perfectly fine if you don’t know the name of it.

  3. Jen R. says:

    “I wish he could know that feral foxes are living in the heart of the city and terrorizing its neighborhoods because I know it would delight him.”

    This is the best line I’ve read ANYWHERE in a long time. It made me laugh, then it made me feel kind of heartachy. Such a way to describe that feeling of coming across something that reminds you of someone long gone.

  4. I know about the feral foxes, have read how they have come into houses through open doors in summer.

    I say, forget finding your inner swan, embrace the Feral Fox within you.

  5. nikki says:


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