Like clockwork we came in: we had made landfall long before I swam up out of my last sleep; we were nearly on the ground before I could see the patchwork of southern England, the ancient lush trees spotting green pastures, the wheatfields yellowing, the tiny villages, the cows, the sheep. The runway. Gatwick again. I know London Gatwick as well as I know almost any airport (though that's actually Heathrow up top there): the weird long distance one walks even to get to passport control, the new strangeness of being split off from everyone else if you're American and actually follow the signs to the correct place to enter the passport control hall, the absolute bizarreness of being able to make a deposit for a luggage trolley using either a £1 coin (= about $1.60) or 25¢. (Thank goodness for stray quarters.) The Marks and Spencer food hall immediately past the international arrivals spit-out. The vaguely back-door quality of the coach pick-up area.
By 1 p.m., after a morning of sleeping as my coach hit every London airport but Luton, I was back in my college, being hailed again and again by people who know me. It is more of a blessing than I can talk about, right this moment, to have in my life right now not one but two academic villages where I am known, where people are happy to see me and no one has to ask my name, where I belong.
And I suppose one really knows that my feet are on the ground when I start taking pictures of flowers. Some slightly more iconic shots of Cambridge tomorrow--though I have to tell you that the most adventurous stuff I'll do here will be on 120 film, which means you won't get to see it (possibly ever--depending on whether I have access to a negative scanner when I finally develop these rolls in the fall).