Daily Archives: April 24, 2008

Seven glimpses of my soul

MsPrufrock did a meme, and I am a sucker for a meme (me!me!me!me!), and this one seemed really rather beautiful, not that I think I can write beautiful, so busy doing grouchy, you see, but one might as well try. Seven views, or images, that mean something rather more than ‘ooh, pretty!’ or ‘blimey, that’s steep.’ So here they are, seven windows of my soul. It’s such a nice change from essays and/ or my innards.

  • I used to climb the horse-chestnut tree in my grandmother’s front garden. It was enormous, ancient, wonderful. I remember looking up from my branch, up up at the sky between the vast green leaves, and feeling a certain secret happiness that no one else seemed that interested in how beautiful it was. To this day, looking up at the sky through branches makes me happy.
  • I grew up not-in-Blighty. The view from the terrace of our first house, in early Autumn – us, perched high on our mountain’s shoulder, which rose behind us and to the right of us, and looking straight across at the copper-tinged mountains opposite, and away to our left, the mist rising from the little river below making a chain of smoky pearls all along the valley floor, and the sound of the church bells drifting up to us from 1000 feet below.
  • Our second house stood on the lap of a different mountain, and looked out across the olive groves, and a much broader valley, a magnificent sweep of a valley, full of distant villages and half-glimpsed churches and palaces and rocky out-crops, and beyond, the snow-capped mountain and the sun rising behind it. All this from the bathroom window, as the morons who’d built that house put all the main rooms facing North. Mind you, that view was wonderful too, but the one you saw kneeling on the seat of the bog, at dawn, was perfect. I miss it to this day.
  • At boarding school, which, incidentally, I Did Not Enjoy Much, and to be frank I worry about people who say they did, the one thing that made me happy was the view. The school was on the side of a hill, looking out across the levels to Glastonbury Tor. Here are some links to the sort of thing I got to stare at every day for six years.
  • My Dad married for the fourth time, as was his wont, and my step-mother put aside a room in her house for me, because I was at the above-mentioned school by this point and therefore staying every few weeks. The first room ever in my life that was My Room. Before that I’d always shared with my sister or been in a dormitory. My own private room. Oh, the bliss. And the view? Straight out onto a damp yellow brick wall, and the neighbour’s window, barely ten feet away.
  • H’s parents still live in the same house they did when we first started dating, back at the astonishingly tender, unripe age of seventeen. On our first date, H and I went for a walk up the hill behind their house, and stood at the top looking out over yet another valley, a soft rolling green one, that melted away into the distant winter sunlight. I, vain as only an eejit seventeen-year-old could be, had left my glasses, deliberately, back at school. And I raised my hand and pointed to a distant glitter and said: ‘Oh, look, what a beautiful lake,’ or words to that effect, and H turned to me and, bless him, did not fall on the icy path laughing his head off, but gravely pointed out that it wasn’t a lake. It was the sewage works. We still go back and look at our sewage works whenever we visit the H-Seniors.
  • Anywhere along the Thames, between Kew and Tower Bridge. There are so many views of that river that just DO it for me. There are renowned buildings and bridges, yes, and very well worth a good stare they are too. But there are also the jetties where the cormorants roost, and where we watched them fishing for dabs in the river mud, and the strange little temporary beaches of low tide, and the green of the city, the trees all along the embankments like lace in winter, and like a green mist now. It looks like home.

Anyone else fancy a go? Oh go on. Go on go on go on go on go on.