I do like living in the country - the space, both inside and outside, that I never had in London, the proximity of the natural rhythm of the seasons, the fact that you can see the stars at night in a properly dark blue sky that is not artificially lightened by millions of electric light bulbs but I must admit that I do find the bustle of the city energising and even among the anonymity of complete strangers there is not the sense of isolation you can get in the country. I am content with my own company in the metropolis in a way that I am not always, when I am on my own, in what is now home. I fear that at heart I am not really a country person, or not yet anyway!
I certainly appreciate, far more now than when it was on my doorstep all the time, the buzzy momentum and activity that is palpable when I step off the train at Paddington. These things are a bit of a question of light and shade of course. It's good to experience the contrast and to be aware of the shadow-side of both as well as the light-reflecting side of both. After all, I remind myself, isolation is alive and well in most cities and what is buzzy and energising today can easily become frenetic and stifling tomorrow, just as space and quiet in the country can be recreative and healing tomorrow as well as lonely today.
I have been thinking about shadows and reflections a lot this week. The way they show something that one doesn't always notice otherwise. I love John Henry Newman's epitaph for this reason - "Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem" - "Out of shadows and illusions into the truth". I love the sense that it gives of a life of quest and discovery and everything along the way being part of that. The "into" is important; it denotes a journey, a process, a becoming. Sometimes the shadows themselves help to show us the way to that becoming.
Here are a few pics snapped yesterday in Great Portland Street which play a bit with shadows and reflections. The first three are not double exposures although they look like it. They are simply taken in front of a plate glass window where I was meeting someone and the glass held the reflection from the pavement and across the road. The plate glass window belongs to Villandry - their cakes and patisserie, as you can see, are mouth-watering! I particularly liked the pink swirled meringue that you can't see very clearly in the third pic. It was beautifully marbled and has given me Ideas!
I like the way these pics somehow remind me that I am both someone who likes the cosmopolitan and the homely. And it doesn't have to be "either or". One can be at peace with being both a town mouse and a country mouse and grateful for what both settings can give.
Happy Weekend ...
wherever you are and whatever your preferred habitat!