Walking down to the station, the trains rustling along their London tracks, filled with passengers that sometimes smell like body odor, sometimes walk with an arrogance about them in their business suits, sometimes have characteristic London haircuts with the sides of their heads shaven and long hair on top, or sometimes talk like Californians, which is easy for me to pick out since all of these British accents surround me. There are subtleties about the tube system that I have had to adjust to: the furious pace with which everyone shuffles about; the way escalators work here, and how people standing on the left side must make way for people who climb their way up and down on the right side; examining all the maps to sort out which line I must take or how I have to change lines at times to get to the destination I have chosen.
It’s all so very London…
It was a nice, long day today, drifting around Holborn Station on my way to the British Museum. The entrance to the museum was so gallant, situated there in the sunlight, and I asked a tourist who didn’t speak English to take my photo. She smiled at me, and gestured in a way that meant Is that a good picture?, so I gave her the thumbs up and walked into the museum, which changed colors from yellow to white to grey, depending on the weather outside and if the clouds were hiding the sun, since the ceiling is made of glass. I spent most of my time near the Egyptian exhibits looking at the mummies and their sarcophagus’, which are detailed in bright colors and agelessness. It’s an interesting feeling, being around so many artifacts that have lived life a thousand times longer than me, history lessons come to life.
Afterwards, I took the Central Line from Holborn Station back to Notting Hill Gate, and walked around Hyde Park, which, in keeping with the theme of the day, was splattered in sunshine, the greens of the grass and the blue waters of Round Pond and The Serpentine soaking in the light and shooting sparkles off in all directions. I took a seat in the grass and had a moment of reflection, planes flying above me the only things obstructing my view from the London sun. I wasn’t listening to music. I wasn’t playing with my iPhone. I was breathing in the quiet calm of the park, and watched birds fly from branch to branch so freely, finding my own wings with every breath of London air I took, and smiled to myself, even chuckled a few times, thinking of my grand adventure that has been decorated with internal monologues and the uninhibited feeling of loving life.
I’m back now at my favorite Barnes location, The Sun Inn, which is aptly titled now because the sun is shining down on the outside tables, lighting everyone here in the type of sunshine that locals are so very happy about. In California, the sun has little value, because it’s so common. But here in London, the entire city flocks outside to enjoy the rays. At The Sun Inn the tables in the shade are vacant, and the ones in the sunshine are crowded with people, the men drinking their pints, the women sipping on wine, the couples holding hands and whispering, cigarette smoke wrapping around us all in a dense white fog. And this unspoken feeling, that this type of beautiful weather won’t last long, is indicated by the way people hug the sunshine in places and hang on to it, fighting for every inch.
Nighttime is on the way, though, evidenced by all the shadows that are overtaking Barnes Pond, and people are starting to leave their tables to go inside to sit under fake light that just isn’t the same. My pint of ale is coming to an end, my writing mood still vibrating like an echo in a tunnel, so I choose to sit outside, holding on to the last rays, still wearing my sunglasses. Such a nice way to end the day, here at The Sun Inn, with one last sip of my ale, and one more deep breath of this London air to saturate me in all the positivity I need.
So I walk into waning sunlight, zipping up my coat and shifting my writing bag from my left shoulder to my right as I walk down cobblestone steps into the sunset that pales to the sunrise in my adventurous heart.