The pain of beholding beauty

August 20, 2016 § 1 Comment

I can not keep my appreciation of beauty to myself.

We went cycling by the canal yesterday. It was the most beautiful day of the year and I didn’t bring my camera. We saw green and gold, crystal clear reflections on the water as we rode, but I didn’t bring my camera. We passed all the house boats with their tiny windows and low ceilings, tanned boat masters sitting on their mattress thrones amongst their flower pots. River boats floating along at a leisurely pace as men played oddly-shaped guitars for women. Everyone was feisty, communicative and jovial. We reached a locked gate at one point, and there were two kind young men sitting by it smoking aromatic herbs – the sunshine gatekeepers, I called them affectionately. They showed us the way up and around to rejoin the canal, as we had reached a mooring zone.

The canal is like a subway for pedestrians and bikes – far away and below the city with its dirty bustle. To find our way back we had to request the services of a gentleman on his confident cycling route home which happened to be on our way that we could not find. Like a quest in a video game, we suddenly had to pick up the pace and follow this man across quiet, winding roads until we reached a group of cyclists who all seemed to be on a similar mission. He left us with a wave and a humble “you’re welcome” as he sped off, his part of our little journey successfully accomplished. We followed the rest of the herd until, before we knew it, the canal was on our right this time, and the sun was at a fabulous low point in the clear sky. But I didn’t bring my camera. We passed rows of trees and their doubles in the lightly windy water, and then they opened up to reveal millionaire houses overlooking the most peaceful and glorious part of London. Great stone habitats with columns and professional landscaping. White, throne-like benches. Maybe their kids had their own boat somewhere nearby, for whenever they may feel like toughing it out with the simpler classes. Weeping willows, white stone houses, hilly gardens, but I didn’t bring my camera!

Then I saw it. I saw a reflection under a bridge a reflection so immensely riveting I had to turn back and gaze at it. I had to get a picture even if it was with my crummy phone. A sliver of light had eased its way along the wall under the bridge and found itself refracted inside the water, creating a slightly off-kilter line. The sliver itself was perfectly reflected on the surface underneath, and its continuation was reflected opposite in a slowly moving golden reproduction of the water’s surface. Gleaming thin lasers in constant movement on the upper left side of this perfectly formed oblong golden X on a charcoal background… and I didn’t. Have. My. Fucking. Camera.

Here’s what I immortalised instead.



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