Springtime Promenade

June 13, 2010


Bluebell Beeches

One morning in late May I caught the first train to the rural outskirts of London and was rewarded with the most beautiful of springtime sights.


Hilltop Town

It did not take me long to wander downhill from the station and through the old town that resides in the valley beneath the modern settlement. Before the first half an hour had passed I could overlook the western part of the town of the hilltop which I had climbed.


Keeping Gate

Having cleared the town and its outskirts, I found myself passing through the barrier that separated the urban and the rural countryside: a charming gate blushing with rust.


Dust Road

The first field put me in a feeling of sheer delight, the rolling slopes encouraging me to believe I was one with the sky as the wind played with my long skirt. Eventually, I reached a dust road that promised to carry me as far as I wished.


Dandelion Hill

My springtime walk took place late in May, and I found the first generation of dandelions had allowed their sparkling gold to fade to the hue of cotton-like copper I so adore.


Bluebell Forest

I shall always with fondness remember my first visit to a forest whose atmosphere was adorned with the sweet, perfumed scent of bluebell hyacinths.


Power Line

Although I had walked for almost five consecutive hours, it was still bitter-sweet to know I had reached my final destination and my springtime walk had come to an end. Never the less, my first introduction to the British countryside did nothing but cement my affection and enamour me yet more.

[This post features pictures taken during the walk detailed in Weightless Adventures.]

Thank you Vil for helping upload these pictures when my Internet connection laughed at me!

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Weightless Adventures

May 24, 2010

blue bells
Image by lone snapper.

It was a wonderful morning as she awoke, the sun tickling her face as it was filtered through the curtains she had drawn the evening before. A whisper of a breeze floated through a window, only barely open. Even before she opened her eyes, she knew an amazing day was to mature from the fairytale morning.

An impromptu vase stood on her windowsill as she went downstairs, the plastic cup filled with flowers that had spread their lovely scent overnight; the sophisticated jasmine with its sweet tones, the heavenly blue forget-me-nots that twinkled in the morning light. There were the vanilla notes of the cow’s parsley and the precious, barely distinguishable whisper of the pink clematis.

Running to the train station to catch the first train of the morning, the air played with her golden hair and long skirt — in her mind she was the essence of times past, and nothing could delight her more.

Travelling thorough landscapes she knew she would never tire of, she all but flew out of the front carriage of the train, floating down the swindling road on the hill that climaxed in a valley with the town above her and the rolling hills before her mesmerised eyes.

Her path led her through the oldest parts of the town, the small houses crooked and aged, their lacquered doors however smiling kindly at her as she passed, the lace curtains modest eyelids concealing the lives of those who lived within.

Eventually, she found herself by the edge of a field, its rolling expanse a terrestrial wave frozen in its ascent, the height swindling and exhilarating from where she stood; the queen of the richness of the grassy sea.

In the sunlight, the grass shone with the fresh vigour of spring, as if it was the scalp of a creature so modest about its beauty it had hidden from sight under ground. As the wind played with the grassy curls, she, who stood in the midst of the ocean, would not have been surprised had a ship sailed past in the distance.

Eventually, the path upon which she travelled led her into the depths of a forest, the beeches embracing her with their grand architecture; their canopies a fair peridot ceiling, their silver stems the pillars of nature’s grand halls.

The floor of that ball room was covered with music, the light — all but heavenly — lavender blue bells softly dancing where they stood, gilding the atmosphere with their melodious, scented notes.

For a while, she stood, mesmerised, the sight before her so foreign, so beautiful. In her native lands, those she adored with all of her heart, the forest floors were adorned with the white stellar sparkles of windflowers, their fresh, musky scent a stark contrast to the sweetness that for the moment tickled her senses.

The metallic field of dandelions past the height of their bloom followed, the silver seeds filling the air as the heavens breathed, the copper of their stems a reddish hue adorning the grass, the few flower heads that remained a treasured sparkle of gold.

Walking upon the small lane that carried her across such fields, past farmhouses and small cottages, the sunshine kept her company, caressing her face and arms with its gilding warmth.

For a while, the hum of electricity through cables suspended above her head was all that interrupted the calm indifference of the eternity in which she had found herself, the modern reminder however soon again replaced with the twitter of blackbirds and robins in the canopies above, their duets only occasionally joined by a pigeon’s deep, velvety coo.

In the little village she thereafter reached, she realised her lovely adventure had come to an end. No matter how much she desired to spend the rest of her life suspended in the weightlessness nature’s freedom offered, she knew she had to return to the life that had granted her this dream-like escape.

Once back at home, with her remaining exam pocking for her attention, she looked out through her window into the sunny, all but Mediterranean afternoon, knowing her wonderful experience on the countryside of the land she so adored would remain with her forever; it having been validation of the enamoured beliefs which once had brought her there.

[Pictures taken during the adventure can be found here: Springtime Promenade.]

An Evening in St.James

February 27, 2010

Spiral Staircase
Picture by Martin Haesemeyer

She could not remember what she had been thinking, months previously. Why had she bought the ticket for the formal dinner at the prestigious club? What should she–socially awkward little girl–do in such a place? She must have had some reason–but for the moment it was lost to her.

Pacing throughout her little house, she was pulling her hair, wondering what she should do. Too much had been invested already for the horn of defeat to be blown. She had no option but to attend, as she had intended, all those weeks ago.

A dress was waiting for her in the depths of her closet, a dress bought for that very purpose. It would be a pity to disappoint it, that grey, formal little thing that suited her so well. So she put it on.

She tamed her eccentric, long hair and twirled it in two braids to form a compact bun, the weight held in place with what seemed a thousand pins. A white flower of silk was planted next to the secured wheat hair, and she allowed pearls to flow around her neck and droop off the lobes of her ears.

Indeed, she was beautiful, especially with both sooted and powdered eyes. Still, her lower lip trembled with fear. Biting it–knowing fear is best conquered when challenged–she draped a beige and pink coat over her shoulders. She looked a bit like her grandmother had done when her age. She liked it, always having found her grandmother in possession of an aura of self-assured elegance.

The sun was setting when she stepped outside, the clouds having been whisked to form strawberry meringue upon the powder-blue sky. The heels of her shoes tip-tapped the ground as she walked, feeling heads turn as she passed.

Two hours later she stood outside the elegant, albeit majestically menacing door. Her name on the guest list would grant her entry; this evening she belonged inside. Yet, her heart raced in her chest. She was frightened, pacing the street up and down, and back and forth, attempting to calm her terrified nerves.

She had done this to herself to learn what was painful not to know. Social ineptness knew only one cure: staring fear in the eye.

So, she entered. Her name granted her entry, acknowledged with a bow. Her coat was hung among others, and she entered the room.

She was taller than everyone, towering above them like a giant lost. What was worse, however, were the evening gowns that swept across the floor. Her heart sank in her chest as she looked down on her own, much less conspicuous as she had feared a gown would be overdress.

A few familiar faces welcomed her, and introduced yet more. For a moment things were going fine with conversation and introductions–until she ran out of words. She blushed, feeling insignificant yet again, disappearing into a corner from which she was pulled so the charade could start anew.

Entering the dining room she found people were missing from her table. It worried her. But it was the last of her concerns.

But things changed when the person next to her turned out to be the friend of a childhood friend, and so, with something in common, they spoke for most of the meal.

The dinner itself was enjoyable. Despite the price it was not up to the standards she knew from home, but far better than anything she would have served her solitary self–had she decided not to go.

A salad for appetiser, chicken with mushrooms for the main course, and panna cotta for pudding. She had never had the latter before but she enjoyed it. Over the course of that evening, she had grown ignorant of the intimidating nature of novelty. She did not like the coffee however, despite telling herself having a cup would be sophisticated. She found some things cannot be forced; which she knew, but desired to change.

She ended up talking with people for two more hours, being proud of herself during the course of the conversations, reproaching herself when swirling across the room, not daring to approach anyone. A kind person took her under their wing, helping her along. She was most grateful, finding she was straining herself to do what came so easily to others.

It was delightful to talk, and for once, she felt that she had something in common with her partners of conversation. What was more, she felt that she belonged.

As the evening–for her part–neared its end, she was given the card of someone who desired to see her again. She accepted it, not because she intended to, but because it was a token of acceptance she would treasure.

She bade them farewell, and was escorted down the stairs by the arm of a young gentleman. She was even kissed adieu on the cheek, blushing after she had disappeared into the darkness before the clock had struck midnight.

Although she was Cinderella, with a last train to catch, she had failed to forget her shoe. That was for another evening–when, she did not know. This, had only been the beginning.

As the tip-tapped home anew, amidst the silence and darkness that reigned during the young hours of the country night, the moon was translucent upon veiled skies. She smiled at its awe: she had actually enjoyed the evening she had not been certain she even wished to attend.

Having partially conquered her fears, she had proven she could do more than she had believed. She had grown stronger the evening–that evening in St. James.

Candy Coated
Image by jakevol2 on Flickr.

The entire day had been spent in front of the computer, that modern marvel that had replaced the versatility and charm of pen and paper with sterile pixels. Chemical formulae, mathematical equations and labelled compounds had each figured on the back-lit screen, each as important as disinteresting. Fundamental as the concepts were, they had failed to appeal to her curiosity and imagination.

Despite the occasional diversion, in the shape of more inspirational writings on evolution, individual thoughts, or general prose, she felt the day had been a waste. Surely, a lot had been accomplished–but nothing of value. The day could have been spent in countless more appealing ways: the map on her wall could have been coloured and life granted to her imagination’s continent at last, or its inhabitants could have been allowed to speak and contemplate–to come to terms with who they were and what their desires were.

The notes scattered before her–with their chemical compounds and skeletal formulae–tasted bitterly in her sight. It felt silly an entire future could depend upon something that so evidently was not for her. Having forgotten who she once had been, she had failed to savour the challenge. As long as she managed to rise with the earliest birds the following morning and travel for hours to attend an assessment a mere half-an-hour in length her efforts would not have been in vain. Beyond that, she found her mind preoccupied with other desires and dreams.

The indoor air had grown stuffy, the illumed room an isolated space outside which darkness already had fallen, the skies a fading blue as the sun dipped beyond the clouded horizon. Failing to mimic the splendour of the sun the street lights spilled copper onto the ground. In an instant the decision was made, and even before she had risen and collected her pink-lined coat from where it had spent the day; in the shadows of oblivion.

Exiting her little cavern of light–the home she once had feared she never would find–she wandered aimlessly into the evening, swallowed by the mild air and veiled by the murkiness. The atmosphere was perfect; cold enough to numb her senses, but without painfully nibbling her fingers and nose. No mists accompanied her breaths and her thoughts were clear–cleared, perhaps, for none swirled beyond her eyes.

Blackbirds sang in the rose and blackberry thickets the winter winds had stripped of their grandeur. Yet, symphonies were delivered from within their blackened expanse, the birds marvelling over the beauty of the evening. Their melodies reminded her of the songs she had savoured in another life; one lost, but never forgotten. That life had been lived in-between dusk and dawn upon the misty fields of mid summer. It had been an untroubled life, and as such, destined to never last beyond the span of summer itself.

Peculiarly, the birds spoke in a different tongue. She knew their vowels and the other-worldly sounds that emanated from their silken throats, yet, there was an element to their tune that was foreign; ethereal in the silver context. The many miles that separated her lives were evident in the accent of the avian musicians, so soft it was barely perceptible, its nature impossible to palpate. Still, despite their novelty, the sounds soothed her senses, the spring evening reminding her of those long-lost summer nights.

Poor Little Thing

February 11, 2010

Borboleta - Butterfly
Picture by Giba N.

Although it had snowed overnight, spring was in the air. The small birds tittered in pinnacled canopies, the sun casting warming beams upon an otherwise bare landscape. In a flower-bed a few daffodils mirrored the glory.

But that was outside the city. Within it, the sun was all that whispered of spring, the golden light causing her figure to cast a shadow upon the ground.

At one point her shadow fell upon what seemed like nothing but a fallen leaf to the thousands of feet that hurriedly threaded upon the crowded path.

But she saw what it was, wishing she never had.

The first butterfly of the year had escaped someone’s notice, it having met its fate beneath the feet of a city-dweller, blinded by the concrete.

It saddened her for the rest of the day.

Freedom

January 23, 2010

Aged Jetty

If only freedom was less of a notion unreal,
Oh, how delighted I would be!

I am not foreign to studies, in fact, I adore to read and learn new things; I love the fulfilling sensation to have my eyes opened by novel insights. I do however loathe to study subjects that interest me little, or not at all, as life is too precious to be allowed to go to such waste.

I understand that chemistry is one of the corner stones of science, but as a person whose interests forever shall be enamoured by the theoretical nature of science — which once upon a time was labelled “natural philosophy” — I find the act of studying it a chore best avoided.

I need to say I desire to help push the frontiers of science forward, for nothing less is expected of me. What my heart truly desires, I cannot allow to cross my lips. It’s a notion so foreign it is best silenced; tucked away in the jewelled box of my mind where I keep my most treasured secrets.

Still, as I force myself to study subjects that fail to appeal to my curiosity — by imposing alien restrains upon my own being — I find my mind floating into the vacuum of delight that unsatisfying discoveries create; I find my gaze abandoning the print on the pages to soar into the skies, into my own little world where my mind can be free.

A Day’s Work

January 14, 2010

Studying

Because I do not have any labs in Physiology1002 until next Thursday, I had today off. Having woken up at a reasonable hour and having had breakfast — oatmeal porridge with cranberries, with tea on the side — I managed to force myself to spend a few hours studying.

Studying has bored me to tears since infancy — not that infants study, but you get the point — and so I have attempted to avoid it whenever I can. For the most part things have worked out well, as my grades have been more than sufficient this far, although I would not recommend anyone to follow my poor example.

Since I learnt that I need to score 60% of higher in order to continue on to study towards a Master’s degree in a few year’s time, I have started to attempt to study more, as doing research is what I have dreamt about for years. But, it is terribly hard, as I sincerely do not know how to study properly. I have to learn what I should have learnt decades ago, and the process is slow.

To keep my spirits up I have therefore decided to make studying as fun as I can, by allowing myself to draw and colour; because it is childishly fun. So, I read my text books and lecture notes, while simultaneously copying down important points on paper and illustrating with colourful pictures.

It’s a time-consuming process, but I find that I can keep at it for hours as it makes studying more of a pastime than a chore.

My greatest concern is however that I never the less will fail to reach my goal of scoring >60% on my future tests, as a great deal of the curriculum includes subjects that bore me to tears. And when the motivation to learn is lacking, even the most ambitious of efforts are in vain.

For the moment — rather than studying biochemistry — I would like to start writing a thorough draft of my fantasy novel. I have finished plotting about a third of the story, but I find the hardest part being how to start. While I wait for inspiration to strike, I study, as I reason it cannot hurt me the least.

Tea Time

January 14, 2010

Porcelain

Most of my dreams are quite insignificant, and matter little to the grand scheme of things. One such dream of mine has been to get a set of porcelain which is sweet, but not extravagant.

Last weekend I found myself browsing the contents of a charity shop. Most often, they contain nothing of interest, but every once in a while one comes across something that speaks to one. This little set of porcelain was such an item.

It seemed a bit too inexpensive for an entire set of 30 pieces, and so I was on the verge of leaving the shop when I found the courage to inquire as to its price; it did indeed apply to the entire set. I therefore bought it without further ado.

I carried it back to my home of three days through the snowy sleet, taking great care as to not slip in my high heels and destroy the treasure I had found. I made it back safely, and without incident, and I have since valued it greatly.

Some of the cups have cracks, and some of the plates have chips missing. But I do not mind, as it only means the items have a history. They were once used and loved before left in the care of the charity shop. And now, they are mine to love and care for.

Every morning I use one of the cups to have my morning tea in — Earl Grey, as it is my favourite kind of tea. It is the perfect start to any morning, as the adorable pattern cannot make one do anything but smile.

Cotton Rain

December 16, 2009

Hyde Park Morning

I woke up before my time today. In the early morning I opened my eyes, as if I had escaped a dream, being unable to return to the sleep that had been chased away. I rose and wandered out into the lavender light reflecting off the white façades of the town houses, steering my steps towards the large open area just nearby.

The parkland stretches for as far as the eye can see, and had it been more densely vegetated it would have been a forest — in the very heart of this large city. The grassy expanse was covered with frost, and as it was gently caressed by the first yawns of a newborn sun, mists started to rise into the peach atmosphere that warmed the frosted mint below. In ages past they said the fairies danced, and indeed, swirling mists and joysome dances can during serene morning hours be one and the same.

The sun rose as a great ruby over the eastern treetops, those leafless towers and pinnacles that towered in the distance, their silhouettes softened by the evaporating frost. Swans were lining the edge of the great pond, their white dresses a hint of what was to come.

Once the sun had risen and lost its blush the skies clouded over. The air was still sharp and nipped noses and cheeks of those who wandered towards their destinations. In the afternoon the purpose of the day was revealed as large, cotton-like raindrops swirled from the skies. As they touched the ground, they melted to water.

They say it rarely snows in London, and so it was appropriate for this fair snowfall to melt as soon as it had settled; it did not snow; it rained cotton balls.

The Last Days Of Summer

August 19, 2009

fence and lake in sepia tones

Two days ago the mists of November floated with a conqueror’s conviction through the air and the atmosphere was that of a world set on fire by the sun’s very last beams. The world of this day, younger than the one which brought me such melancholy, is more summer-like, but not any more cheerful.

Though the sun blazes with the conviction of the last weeks of summer, the rest of the world had lost its strength. Winter and its hounds of autumn may be gone for the time being, but the wounds it inflicted upon its prey of summer’s fairness still remain. The maiden of summer, the one I hold so dear, she has been hurt and her strength has been lost through the cuts in her rosy skin.

Nature is like a beast wounded for the moment, putting on a face of no concern while suffering in silence. And though the winds played with my hair whilst outside, their enthusiasm was gone; they had lost the motivation they usually prod with possessing, their laboured play was more of a task to be fulfilled than a joyful activity in which to find delight.

The last flowers of the season are beautiful and bright in their colour, but their green is not as healthy as their counterparts several months back were. There is a tint of brown to all aspects of the late summer’s world, scars of fatigue that are carelessly hidden with limited success.

It is with melancholy in my mind that I walk among the riches which have grown tired of their own appeal. I wish for summer to last forever more, and still everything around me makes me realise that summer soon will be gone. Nature knows it, as does all who have felt that their energy is not what it once was, that their stamina has been lost through the passing of time. Though we are tired, we attempt to remain cheerful with an insincere smile playing upon our saddened lips.

Summer will return once more, having rested during the part of the year which now soon is to come. I can however not fully appreciate the promises whispered into my ears by the tired winds as I feel that my acquaintance with summer has been all too short this year .

Weeks ago, summer was everlasting and its aged days were nowhere in sight. Now, I am in the midst of them, dubious feelings residing in my heart. I try to remain cheerful, as does summer, but some attempts are destined to fail; some battles were always intended to be lost.

Perhaps my sadness — concealed by constructed smiles — is a reminder of mine, employed to engage my person in more productive tasks. For truly, my life is slipping through my fingers in vain, as does the viscous diamonds of water when attempted to be gathered from a pond.

My life’s summer has only started, but as this summer already has grown old, so am I also told nothing lasts forever. Though the summers of one’s life are perceived to be long, they are not when contemplated in retrospect.

That is the reason for why no tasks must be delayed and that one must cease the moment and soar whenever the opportunity is given. For is one doubts and passes up on the chance of a lifetime, it may go on to be lost to one for evermore, never to return.

Catch the day without regard for its elusive nature, see it as a butterfly which is to be chased across the fields of life, finally to be caught at sunset in the net of one’s own being’s construction. Everything comes to the one who has the patience to wait, but at times virtues are to be disregarded from and one has to soar from the shoulders of one’s own giants when the time is right — even if it is premature.

All who has the strength of conviction to attempt to attain the goals for which they reach are to be successful. But only so if they ever dare to spread their wings and truly fly.