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Monday, 30 September 2013

The change

The air is chilly. Something has changed. There were no fireworks, no announcements...just a simple glance downwards to spot the lone golden leaf adorning the evening pavement.
Trees will soon be bare and sunsets will arrive just that little bit earlier. And so comes the change.
The carefully packed boxes in my lounge suddenly make me realise that in two weeks, I will no longer be here - here in this flat, looking out over towards the glistening canal.
I will be gone.
As I watch summer skip merrily away for another year, I can't help but wonder what this new season will bring. Who will I be when the snow starts to fall?
A cold breeze whistles across my body and makes it shudder. Then as I zip up my hoodie, I look over towards the water. It is still flowing gently like it did the day before.
Then I realise something: As much as change can be scary, we have no choice but to embrace it. Whether we like it or not, everything on our beautiful planet changes every single day. It's meant to be that way. Every sunrise and season brings with it new opportunities; a chance to smile, to dance, to grow.
The cold pulls me out of my thoughts and I head inside. I lock the door, close my blinds, and turn on the lamp. The room is instantly bathed in a warm glow...and suddenly everything changes.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Gone fishing

I didn't know if it was the beer, the blazing sun, or a combination of the two, but I suddenly felt sleepy out on the river bank. It was nice to be away from the city for a few days, and for the first time in ages, I felt my mind soften around the edges.
As I finished the last of my drink, my friend turned to ask if I fancied doing a spot of fishing...A smile crept across my face as I found myself out on the deck of their narrow boat. After a quick lesson in the basics, my friend hopped back onto solid ground...and there I stood, alone in my thoughts, looking out across the river. The peacefulness of that moment was beautiful!
It didn't last long!
I watched the lure fly gracefully out across the water to land with a gentle splash once again...Then I felt my line pull...hard. The rod began to bend, and for a moment, I wondered if I had managed to get it caught again on some weed at the bottom. Within a few seconds, to my absolute horror, I pulled the line out of the water and found myself staring at a thrashing 25lb pike!
With that, I screamed, my friends came running, and passers-by stopped to see what was causing such a commotion. And so the battle to release the giant began...
The mere sight of its razor-sharp teeth coming towards me was enough to have me climbing up the railing away from it.
After what seemed like an age of twisting and struggling, I watched my friend bend down to place him back into the water from whence he came. He was finally home. Safe. Free.
Then as I looked down through the ripples, laughing with relief, I realised something: In life, there will always be challenges. Things happen unexpectedly to take us on a different journey. Sometimes we find ourselves in an unimagined future where we don't always get what we want...but occasionally, get just what we need.
And that night, as I looked out of the car window into the starry sky, I couldn't help but smile. This would forever be the day that I wrestled with a river monster, and won!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rainy Tuesday

Tuesday evening rain splashes down onto cold pavement. It has been like this all day and looks set to carry on into the night. 
As the door to my office clicks shut behind me, I breathe deeply and watch my umbrella pop open...and so begins the commute home towards drawn blinds, soft lighting and a comfy sofa. 
I love these moments! Music pulsing through headphones down into my ears, I join the strangers on the street, and walk. I can't remember the last time I didn't feel at home here. Nights of feeling alone and scared in a big city seem like a lifetime ago. 
As I approach the corner to cross, I notice a massive, muddy puddle spilling out from the kerb into the road. I know this corner, and I see what's coming...As I take a step back away from the edge, people around me suddenly understand my movement and follow me in quick succession. We share a knowing smile with each other just as the bus trundles past and splashes the puddle up and out. 
Moments of random connection remind me that we are all related. 
And so I continue on towards the tube. I know that it will be packed down there this evening. A wave of peace washes over me in anticipation of the warm cocoon that awaits. I can get lost in the crowd once again and feel the mass of beating hearts. 
We see so many people every day on our journey, some familiar, some not. Sometimes paths cross to turn into something more meaningful, and sometimes, one glance is all we ever have. 
And as I begin my descent to the ticket hall, I can't help but wonder where all these strangers are off to tonight - strangers with their dripping umbrellas and soaked newspapers.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The final burst

The final rays of golden sun shine directly onto my face; it is too bright to see anything in front of me. And so, blinded by the light, I close my eyes and feel the warmth gently embrace my entire body. 
I love evening sunsets; everything slowly winding down for another day. Lost in thought, I suddenly feel a slight drop in temperature as the sun is momentarily hidden behind a passing cloud, giving me space to open my eyes once again. It takes a second for them to adjust. Light reflects off the river and bounces out across the city. Sitting on my concrete ledge, I watch as one by one, people pass me and lean against the barrier above the sun-sparkled water. Everything seems to slow right down as we all join together to watch the last of the day's sun give one brilliant final burst across the city. Towers glint in the distance and water is sprayed up by a passing catamaran. And on we gaze, all connected in the moment. Still. Grateful. At peace.
My attention is drawn down towards a tiny boy who runs past me into his daddy's arms. As they both chuckle to each other, I get a fleeting glimpse of my own son. If I had one, we would sit out here together and watch the sun go down over the horizon with Cutty Sark resting majestically behind us. 
It will soon be time for me to get up and meet my friends in the restaurant...
But for now, I'm smiling at this gift of spending a little time on my own. Time to just be. To breathe. To love. To smile. And sweep back my wind-ruffled hair.