Trying to slow down enough to think these days, much less write, requires one of those bulging planner things that people used to lug around before iPhones.(I now own a Panda Planner, which so far remains blank as a painter’s new canvas.)
Time, such a fleeting thing, whizzes by like a subway train hurtling through Charing Cross. And there I have the perfect image, something British. For some reason, London captivated me and I yearn to return. So much history, vibrancy, echoes of the seafaring energy that turned that minuscule island into a world empire, the one of which the wags said the sun never sets. Although Paris brought out special feelings in me, it wasn’t until I walked the streets of London that I felt the sharp prod of history, the sense that “those things happened HERE.”
To be sure, at times I found it hard to discern just where it was that certain people lived and loved, blinded by it all, the streets a blur of tourists and advertising and glitter and glamour. Certainly wheels are turning, and fast, in modern London. Grit and grime rubbed shoulders with romantic visions of Sir Walter Raleigh spreading his velvet cloak over a mud puddle so that Queen Elizabeth could step daintily across.
I don’t have a lot of dreams left, but one I do try to ignore – and haven’t been making a very good job of – is to live in London, probably Hampstead or Notting Hill, where I could jump on the Tube and wheel my way to the British Library or the V&A on a whim, any time I damn well felt like it. Or take in the Tate, both ancient and modern, and the bookshops of Soho. Likely none of this will ever happen, but there’s something so alluring about getting rid of all my “stuff” and hopping on a plane, a veritable starting over. And with the size of my wallet, a bed-sit in Hampstead might be all I could aspire to!
Living intentionally and freely, isn’t that dream enough?