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Daily Journal

July 4-5 – Where Any Two Roads Cross
Return to England (Continued)

"Lorna in Manchester," Robin says. I turn to a blank page in my journal and begin writing. We spend a good forty-five minutes making sure we haven't forgotten anyone, sharing memories and laughs over the new friends we have made here, and online friends we have met for the first time.

This was a good idea, making this list; it has cheered us up considerably. I had popped in my Wolfstone (a Celtic rock band) tape before starting to make the list. In the weeks before leaving on my trip, I had carefully culled songs from four of their CDs for this tape, alternating instrumentals, in which this band excels, and songs with vocals. The words to the songs disappear out our open windows in a rush of cool wind.

List completed, I sit back and gaze out the window. The road travels through a pass where the hills rise up steeply on either side of us. I can't make out the words to the song that's playing, but I know them well. I reach to turn up the volume so Robin and Dana can hear them too, just as we pass the sign that reads "Welcome to England."

The ballad, The Braes O' Sutherland, by Ivan Drever of Wolfstone, tells the tale of a Sutherland woman who was forced to emigrate from Scotland to the United States sometime around the late 18th century. The lyrics are poignant, and though we are not natives to this land, it is the home of our hearts. The lament that she can no longer stay and will never be back again is more than enough to pluck the heartstrings.

I bite a trembling lip and cast a sidelong glance at Robin as the sound of mournful pipes fill the car. Her eyes are full of tears. "Don't start," I say, turning my head quickly toward the window to hide my own tears. The timing of this song couldn't have been better, or worse. We seem to be on an emotional roller coaster today.

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