Literary Cottage Log 3: Pilgrimages Past

Literary Cottage Industry

Jan 26 2021

Gold Tape
A Flashback to Edinburgh 2011, and pilgrimages past.

Dear Reader,

Flashback to Edinburgh 2011:

A student theatre critic embarks on her first day in this magnificent city. Her itinerary, like everyone else’s, is packed with performances. Eyes glued to a map of this ancient, multi-levelled metropolis, she is determined to not get lost this time, on her next hop from venue to venue.

I remember the next moment exactly (surprise, this is my story): I stopped mid-step when I landed on North Bridge and saw it – my first view of Arthur’s Seat.

There’s a MOUNTAIN in this city! I said aloud, to no one.

More like a hill, my mountaineering friends would say. An extinct volcano, tamed with grass, it is situated in my current backyard, and the Queen’s.

Like many of my life’s origin stories, I first heard of Edinburgh because of Harry Potter. The legend grew at Oxford’s Freshers’ Fair. Music groups and theatre troupes lured in signups with promises of a fringe performance. What’s that? I asked, and the tale was told in reverence. I learned of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a performing arts playground put on every August (except this past one). Even though I quit a cappella by my first Christmas in college, I made it to Edinburgh the following summer, in the way I was meant to — as a writer.

I’ve always had an acute sense of place.

Boston, Oxford, Edinburgh — all temporary destinations, that left me with a certain sense of I’m not done here.

Just like the cities before it, I had to return to Edinburgh, and I did, the following summer with Steve. In present day, as he and I search for a place to croft, I recalled our first pilgrimage together. My second trip to Edinburgh, his first. We got lost and found ourselves on Grassmarket, where, three years later, we would live.

Literature led me to Oxford. Oxford joined hands with the arts, and led me to Edinburgh. The mountain volcano hill sealed the deal, showing me that I can in fact have it all. I’ve learned from my past that every time I find the dreamiest place on Earth, I find another even dreamier one when it’s time for the next adventure.

So, as we search, that’s what I’m looking for. An even dreamier place, that pulls me back to it, until I agree to stay, for my next forever.

Until the Next Chapter,

Xandra

P.S. Please write back. I would love to hear your story too.

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