…for other waters are continually flowing on. —Heraclitus
I returned to Florence in the summer of 2008, a year and a half after my first extended stay abroad there. The city was exactly as I'd remembered it—maybe less scaffolding this time around—but I couldn't shake the feeling that it had progressed beyond that which I'd known. I'd spend the summer reacquainting myself with its roads, museums, and people, only to uproot once again in August, to return home to my job after my grant research had completed.
In 2011, again I noticed this weird undercurrent of an ancient city in flux—but the buildings hadn't shifted, and the streets still led to where I wanted to go. Franco the waiter was showing his age, but the tables at his restaurant hadn't budged an inch. Nothing looked different, but nothing felt the same.
But it wasn't in the city I'd noticed the change: it was in the man I'd become during those years. The act of journeying morphed into the art of pilgrimage, and in the quest to find an answer, there I was: already a part of it.