I just returned yesterday from a two-week trip that took me to Washington DC, Ethiopia, and Uganda (with touch downs in Nigeria and Italy too). I’ll share photos in the coming days, but wanted to first capture a thought I had while traveling.

During my 33 hour journey home, a lady sitting next to me on the plane asked if I enjoyed traveling alone. I’m certainly used to it, as I’ve done it a fair amount.

But the truth is, this trip was so much harder. Throughout the trip, I longed so badly to be home with my husband, puppies, and even my very bad cat. The length of the trip definitely contributed to these feelings. But, I think a huge part of it was that Russell and I have created a home (both physical and emotional) that truly combines both of us – both of our souls. Being away, there was a feeling of incompleteness, with a constant pull to return back to where I belong.

In high school, we read John Donne’s A Valediction Forbidding Mourning. Even though I couldn’t identify with it at all at the time – it struck me and has always stayed in my mind. The line about two souls never being truly separate, but instead “like gold to aery thinness beat.” And the metaphor about the compass legs. It makes the romantic in me swoon.

And now, years later, my soul understands its emotion and true meaning.

An excerpt:

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat. 

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do. 

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home. 

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun. 


3 Comments on Thy Soul, the Fix’d Foot

  1. Erica Grace
    November 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM (5 years ago)

    Your web site is beautyful!!!

  2. Erica Grace
    November 5, 2012 at 5:48 PM (5 years ago)

    Miss Yall Come see us!!!!!!!!

    • juliaandruswilliams
      November 6, 2012 at 12:24 PM (5 years ago)

      Thank you sweet Erica! We miss you guys too!


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