OK, that’s it. The universe is calling me back to Yorkshire.
Where’s Yorkshire? Take a wild guess.
The county of Yorkshire is where my lifelong obsession with England began.
Having been afflicted with a chronic case of travel bug at the tender age of 17, I knew I’d have to study abroad for a semester in college. Being of slightly cautious temperament and of slight introversion, I decided to study in an English-speaking country.
England it was. London seemed too overwhelming, so I picked the University of Leeds as my study abroad destination. I had never heard of Leeds, but read that it was an industrial city in North Yorkshire. Sounded just fine to me.
I haven’t been back to Yorkshire since I studied there, even though I’ve been to England five or six times since. I’d like to go back someday…and I think someone’s telling me to go during my next trip.
A few weeks ago, I went on a monastic retreat. One of the brothers had an English accent, and I was dying to ask him where he was from. During our only talking meal at the end of the retreat, I heard another guest say during a conversation, “Brother Brian’s from Yorkshire.”
My heart somersaulted. Yorkshire! What was this Yorkshire lad doing at a monastery in Massachusetts?? Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to ask him that exact question. But we did briefly talk about Yorkshire as well as London.
Fast forward two weeks. My coworker asked me if I wanted to join her to watch a free concert during lunchtime. Sure, I replied. The Dunwells were playing as part of a free arts festival. We stood under a tree and watched the group of young men play their instruments. I detected a bit of an accent when the lead singer spoke. Maybe they’re British, I thought. A few minutes later, after a song had ended, the lead singer said, “Blah blah, we’re from Leeds, England, blah blah.” What!? What were these Yorkshire lads doing at an inaugural arts festival in Boston??
Fast forward to today. I’ve been looking through mountains of papers lately, trying to simplify my life. I had come across a bunch of pages from O, the Oprah Magazine that I had ripped out over the years. They all have lovely inspirational quotes on them. I put them on my desk in my unwieldy “to do/to read” pile.
I finally read them today. On one page, from the October 2004 issue, was an excerpt of this poem. I started to tear up as I read the final stanza:
“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness
to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”
Wow. I headed to Google and searched for the poet’s name, David Whyte. I found a link to his website, to a page with another breathtaking poem. I found his bio. He grew up in Yorkshire. What was this Yorkshire lad’s poetry doing in my files of inspirational thoughts for the past nine years??
So, what do you think? Should I be planning a visit to Yorkshire?