Bright and early this morning, I got up, put on the lycra and cycled across four London Boroughs to get to the newsdesk that I’m at this week.
I’ve missed cycling for pleasure since the start of my course, but today, commuting held a special wonder as the chill in the air was refreshing, reminiscent of a spring birthing.
Whizzing past numerous streets, I came across old roads that I’d lived on, made roots in, felt ecstatic traversing through and others where I was silenced and pierced with pain that I couldn’t carry on my fragile shoulders.
Never losing sight of the tarmac ahead of me with the snaking, unpredictable traffic, I found myself being coated in my memories as I passed familiar sites and sounds on the streets that had once opened their arms out to me in an affectionate embrace.
I stumbled upon cafes where I’d sat and basked in the sun, had serious conversations with many a friend and saturated my being with coffee and expressos into the small hours of the morning. Sidled up next to restaurants where a hurried lunch was grabbed and other hidey-holes where I’d unloaded myself. A network of personal meaning and depth that I cannot deny.
London has been my home now for over twelve years and certain places are steeped with layer upon layer of meaning, memory and emotions. Some with a tinge of sadness that spikes tears in me, others filled with beauty and wonder like looking up into the green leaves of a tree with the sun breaking through the verdent canvas.
I’ve loved, I’ve lost but always with intent and at times have wondered the streets of a cruel and brutal city feeling raw and newborn, trying to contain it all.
This great metropolis has adopted me and occupies a precious place within me. I know it like an intimate lover and find it impossible to get fully lost within its folds and turns. There is always a cherished sense of wonder at my appropriated home even though it can hurt and bruise me.
London you have my heart.