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Around The Sun: Lost Innocence

Steve Harrison says that if you do go home again you will never find what you are looking for.

I have now lived longer overseas in far flung corners of the globe than I ever did in England, the land of my birth. Yet my heart always aches and yearns for my homeland.

Every three or four years, depending on my finances, I took a vacation and went back to my roots. To get to Yorkshire from Australia, where I lived for a number of years, involved a long and exhausting journey. I had to endure 30 hours of cramped airline seats and crowded trains to reach my home town.

When I got there he first thing I did was to go to my local pub, there to have a couple of Yorkshire beers and a helping of steak and kidney pie (I am salivating as I write this). Within minutes some local would come up to me and strike up a conversation. They are a friendly bunch in those parts. “Eer, yer not from round ere are yer?’’ he would say.

So I explain that actually I was born in the town but have spent most of my adult life as a gypsy, wandering this vast globe. He would then announce to the entire pub that there was a foreigner in their midst. For a few moments I would be the object of everyone’s questions and conversations. Then they would go back to drinking there beer, only to announce when someone else entered the pub that there was a person present who was “not from round ere”.
I meet up with my elder sister, We have a few beers and she spends most of the evening trying to convince her friends and everyone else in the vicinity that I actually am from the town. Usually they just laugh and ask me to speak a sentence or two, then tell me that I talk funny.

In not too many ays I tire of the business. Tire of living out of a suitcase, tire of the weather… It never rains in my home town. It just drizzles non-stop.

I begin to wonder why I ever came back. I long for the return trip to wherever I happen to be living.

Each time I go home I re-discover why I wanted to leave in he first place. One day I heard the Scottish comedian Billy Connelly say that he was always drawn back to Scotland, then found himself hating the place and wondering what he was doing there.

Billy said he had gone to a car park. In his youth it was a field. Nearby there had been a field in which he once got drunk, ending up outside, throwing up over a now non-existent wall. He went to a place where there was a housing estate. Once there had been trees there. It was where he had first had sex.

Then he realized that it was not Scotland that he missed, but his own innocent youth.
Billy was right. When you go back to your home town the place has changed, the people you knew are older.

Your lost innocence is not there to find. It is only in your mind.


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