Flying into England was an odd experience. The plane had monitors that showed a graphic display indicating our progress, so I could see when we had entered British airspace and were passing over places whose names I knew. But of course the weather was cloudy and I could see nothing of the land itself. I looked out the window and waited, curious. When we finally broke through the cloud cover, I saw very ordinary fields and hedgerows – nothing particularly scenic or spectacular that would explain the rush of emotion I felt. I had never been any closer to England than the State of New York, but I felt that I was coming back to a beloved home after a long absence.
I think I was expecting kind of a Keatsian, looking-into-Chapman's-Homer moment, and instead found myself having more of a Walter Scott moment.
"Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
As home his footsteps he hath turn'd,
From wandering on a foreign strand!"
Although I probably would have said it without the exclamation marks.