“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl
“Such places exist among the endless abodes of every major city, places that seem to be sanctuaries from the present, immune to the hustle and bustle, the sound and fury that in the end change nothing. Like long unopened books sitting upon dusty shelves, […] buried as they are by time, there abides in them yet a seed awaiting the proper condition for germination. There is some process that occurs in dormancy, some subtle shifting of the fabric of reality that science has yet to discover. From such forgotten places as these occasionally springs, in some unseen future, a gigantic oak whose day has come.”
― James Rozoff
“Finding a sanctuary, a place apart from time, is not so different from finding a faith.”
When work demands meets limited time and stress multiplies by the hour it feels a good strategy, if only for a moment, to fall of the map and just for a while be uncontactable, silent and still.
I found the space to do just that this morning when I ventured out to the Urban Pond which has seen an explosion of exuberant growth in recent weeks. Rushes and foxgloves, daisies and flags strive for the light and the place is a glorious effusion of texture, shape and colour.
This small patch of West London, hidden between buildings is a sanctuary.
A blackbird bathes noisily in the margins, squirrels forage and riot in the overhanging trees, raggedy pigeons flirt, and waterboatmen scull across the water.
“My parents, and librarians along the way, taught me about the space between words; about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you could find miracles and truth and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way. There was sanctuary in a library, there is sanctuary now, from the war, from the storms of our family and our own anxious minds. Libraries are like the mountain, or the meadows behind the goat lady’s house: sacred space.”
To paraphrase the Anne Lamott quote above, the Urban Pond provided me with a space between the words, a place where miracles and truth might be found, a tatty, cramped but nonetheless sacred breathing space in a frantic city.