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The Leaving of England

The days we leave are always the best of days. There is a pure shaft of sunlight illuminating the marble across the floor and a morning chill outside the heavy door.

Beyond the rambling houses and this comfortable suburbia the landscape beckons. It's a morning to lose yourself in deep lanes with high hedges and fields lined with beech trees and gleaming cowslip above the downs.

You feel the essence of England most keenly when you leave. There's a fresh smell to the air that's lost on the natives. There's a distant hum of planes in the fragile blue sky.  it's a day to find ruined castles clad in avenues of briars or to see the quicksilver of the Thames from a nearby escarpment.

I'm not sure if I'm alone in feeling this essence of paradise lost. I don't believe in Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land. But I realize now in the leaving that's it's the closest thing to home; England with all its contradictions, its subtle understatement…

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