It’s the same story told in many places across the UK – small city, big history. For all its history happened and yet-to-happen, I could not have forseen the stories I would leave on the medieval steets of Canterbury, nor how those streets would in turn come to leave their marks upon me.
Sometimes the old and the new jostle for space in the city. The centuries of medieval architecture standing side-by-side with modern convenience.
The city has been there before you, and will be after. Simply, yours to borrow for a time. And yet, I had felt this unwillingness to truly leave long after I was gone, and an urge to return year upon year. Seeing both streets familar and faces not-so, feeling a sense of home but at a distance.
For all the grey and cobble, you’ll find equal dashes of colour on houses and in park spaces. For every shadow a stream of light.
I spent a very tempestuous 6 months of my life here, as a 19-year-old University student marred by anxiety. Now, 3 years later, I find a peace amongst the streets and a serenity in myself when I walk there. The calm after the storm, if you will. Now I can see the beauty in this place as I had not been able before, and really there is so much of it.
We find these kinds of places, not often but they are there. The cornerstones of our lives, the turnpikes where we see how our story could have played out so differently in each direction. And in a sense, we’re taking a risk in returning; in reliving what was, was not and may have been. But you should still go, for it’s in these places where we find our peace.