On my first night in Cambridge, I remember well, I had dinner in town with my new neighbor, someone who already knew the city well. On our way home, we climbed up the steepest hill in town: the public footbridge over the Cam. From there, on a cloudless night, one can see much of the Milky Way, and I stopped to savor the first parallel to home that I'd found. It's just like home, I said into the dark. What a relief. It's such a surprise, he replied. I don't see stars like this where I live.
Tonight, I walked home from a pub in a part of town I'd never visited, further down the river, near a common where cows graze. And the stars were legion, everywhere, even though the night is only partly clear. It's just like home, I said to myself in the dark. What a relief. Which is to say: when I walk out into the night in two weeks, the Milky Way will still be there to welcome me, though the night will be afire with the screech of summer insects, all those sounds that aren't here. And there will be no sound of distant motorway--all those sounds that are distant background for me now.
At some point this afternoon, the project on my desk and the project all over my flat both got to be too much for me to handle in my beloved studio space, and so I struck out into town. To do errands on foot: to have a cobbler who can put new heels on my flat shoes, to have a shoe store that runs a fabulous sale, to have a shipping company that will sell me a box and give me all the Customs and Border Patrol forms I could want (plus some that just make me feel embarrassed). These are the things I will miss when I am no longer here.
And the gardens.
But we have gardens at home, too, and not so much further away, on foot, than the ones that I have loved here. I just have to remember to use them.