There’s a little village on the A68 that I pass through when I drive home. And as you come down the hill to enter it, there are wooden benches facing out across the valley all the way down the incline. This makes me smile – the fact that the seats are placed purely for the enjoyment of a spectular view. Occassionally, there will be an old man with a flat cap and a walking stick sitting there, and my mind drifts to thoughts of my late Poppa, and I wonder whether the man I have just passed is lucky enough to have a secret flask of Whiskey hidden in his cane, too..
I think it is important to be able to take a moment regularly, and appreciate what is around you. I know I have in the past become all too ignorant of the beautiful things around me, but now I do try harder.
I grew up in a little rural village near the market town of Hexham, Northumberland, and am writing this at my parents house now. It truely is a stunning part of the world here, and I am very lucky.
I have always liked looking at the skies when I am outside, and this has lead to some brilliant memories – some of them here, like when I was in the garden with friends and watched a meteor shower, or elsewhere, thinking how amazing it was that one of the ‘stars’ I often gaze at is actually a whole galaxy..
But when I lived here as a child, and up until I left for Uni, I’m not sure I fully appreciated my home’s beauty until I came back and saw it with new eyes.
I have lived in Leeds now for 6 years, and thankfully have not become so jaded. And here is why..
3 years ago, I went to Prague with my friend Chloe. It was November, and it was freezing! One snowy morning, we decided to trek up to the North of the City to look at the Zizkov towers which were adorned with massive faceless babies – the art of David Cerny.
It was brilliant! On the way, we were walking through a snowy park, and Clo was taking photos of the beautiful architecture we were passing. It dawned on me – these builings we were taking photos of were probably people’s flats and houses and offices, and they probably had not ever thought how beautiful they were to the ‘outsider’. Then another realisation. We had these same beautiful buildings in Leeds (and other UK cities for that matter) it’s just that I never looked up above the shop fronts to see that beauty. And that is why I always look up – because otherwise you miss some really beautiful and interesting things. (Like another Cirney sculpture in the centre of Prague: Freud hanging off a beam! We spent aaages looking for that one!)
So many people walk around looking at their feet all day. Whether it’s to avoid the charity-workers/hijackers accosting them on Briggate (does that ever work?!) or because they’re in a hurry to get to their destination, but the journey can be so much more pleasing if your surroundings are noted.
A few of the lovely folk I follow on Twitter do a ‘Where is this?’ type photo game (@mylifeinleeds, @culturevultures). My hunch is you’re much more likely to know the answers if you take a moment and look up!
So here’s what I was looking up at yesterday.
ANSWER: The skies above Riding Mill, Northumberland. 🙂
Enjoy your journeys, lovely readers!