Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On cheeriness and noticing the now, or: I try to think about the moment and not go racing ahead

Perhaps it's time to inject some cheeriness after the last two slightly sooky-la-la editions. As I write this (I type it after at the hotel; by "write" I mean actual real-life old-fashioned manual labour hand-writing) I am sitting in Neal's Yard, London, behind Neal Street but before Seven Dials, between Long Acre and Covent Garden on one side and Shaftesbury Avenue on the other. It is 11am on a Monday morning. I have just been served a soya (as they say) latte in a happy little yellow cup. I think it looks drinkable. The courtyard is full of young trees homed in brightly painted metal barrels, and each building has slightly wild looking window boxes at every window, some filled with wildflower combinations running and spilling over and down, and some with flourishing herbs. On the building to my left a blue circular historical plaque tells me that Monty Python, filmmaker, lived here (woz 'ere?) between 1976 and 1987. I assume that all members of the troupe, rather than the fictitious eponymous filmmaker, came here to work.

Although the weather is a slight grey chill and a breeze is hitting the back of my head and the gap between where my new Secret Society of Vegans hoodie doesn't quite meet my jeans, the day is bright and crisp. My coffee is a little watery but strong.

The windows are all painted different colours inside and out. I wonder if someone once saw a blank and dirty yard and overlaid their imagined paints and green life. I see dark green, purples of all kinds, forget-me-not blue, orange, maroon, navy, emerald, royal blue, lime, tangerine, dark fuchsia and electric blue. I see red and black and yellow and real fuchsias like ballerinas and real lavender and real geraniums and real forget-me-nots and other trees and flowers for whom I have no name. I see a bonsai. I am sitting next to cardboard boxes of golden delicious apples, lemons, bananas, oranges, pineapples, watermelons, limes, tomatoes, and some tropical melons that I'm ashamed to say I also don't know the names of. A helicopter flies low overhead. Ivy falls like long dreadlocks over the Monty Python building. Prayer flags hand over the top balcony and birds perch on an old metal goods hoist underneath a small bell and the sky.

I am in London. I love London. I feel comfortable and at home and happy. I am lucky. I will be pleased to go home and see my boys and sleep in my bed and eat my food. But I am here and I am practicing noticing the now. It feels good.

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