Since Luke and I arrived in Bristol, we’ve come to a surprising realization: here, in this city where we lived for eight and two years respectively, we feel equally like tourists as we do locals. It’s strange, but last night as we tramped down familiar sidewalks in the rain, even passing a former apartment building, we felt like our feet knew intuitively where to go even while we felt totally out of place. It’s a bit like being in a dream where everything is familiar, but something you can’t quite put your finger on is off.
It could very well have been the rain, the night and our travel fatigue. Sure enough, the sun came out this morning and, with it, those old fond feelings of belonging to a city where we lived happily just two years ago. While Luke worked, I spent the morning retracing our old footsteps: Queen’s Square, the Park Street shops and cafes, Brandon Hill park with its views of the city, Clifton Village with its Georgian architecture and posh gastro pubs. I made a point to duck into a favorite cafe any time I felt peckish, and let me tell you, we have a favorite for just about every neighborhood.
At one point, I popped into the shop at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to look for postcards. While I was browsing, my eye was drawn to a section of merchandise by local artists. I’d seen these artists before and, in fact, we own a couple small prints by two of them. What got me excited, though, was that, looking more closely, I realized that a couple of the artists, including one whose print I own, do linocut. All this time I’d been carrying around lovely canvas bag with a print of Bristol by Melanie Wickham, often using it to carry around my own linocut supplies, and I’d never realized it was a linoleum print itself.
A lot can be said about this: Like, how a place never really leaves you even after you leave it. Like how, doesn’t it just show that I must always have been drawn to linocut before I even knew what it was or that I’d one day try my hand at it? And like, how I now understand that what was missing from Bristol in the first twenty-four hours of our visit when everything felt so strange and out of place was a link connecting the us we are today with the us we were in Bristol two years ago.
Needless to say, when I look ahead at these next five days I see a lot of linocut in my future.