Reading On The Thames


Even in a city as big and as loud as London, it is possible to lose yourself in the sound of lapping waves on the river and the warm feel from a spot of sun.  Along the South Embankment of the Thames, I sit on a bench that offers an amazing view of Parliament (no matter how many times I’ve seen it, the building itself is never less than impressive).  It’s late afternoon and rain threatens, but I along with a few others decide to take advantage of the fact that the showers have yet to fall.  The gentleman beside me reads a book about Barbarossa and I am content with a freshly pressed edition of the London Evening Standard.  The rumble of urban traffic is faint in the distance and the hum of boat motors skip across the water, but above all else the trees overhead rustle with a pleasing wisp of leaves bumping into one another.  Big Ben chimes at half past the hour and I take in the day’s news.

Before long, I’m absorbed in stories about illiteracy in London, theatre reviews, and political debates over the economy and NHS.  A strong, chilly breeze fights for control over the newspaper pages, but I press on and win the battle.  The noise of the city is all but gone.  It’s just me and newsprint whittling the day away, one story at a time.  I could be anywhere and nowhere all at once.  It’s just another day until I look up and see a shaft of sun hit Parliament and bounce off Westminster Bridge.  In amazement, I realize I’m in the heart of London basking in a stunning reminder of the good fortune that brought me to this beautiful place.

Here’s my view, shortly before the rain came pouring down . . .

c.b. 2011