Sleepwalking my way through life: Simplicity of a sunny day



Simplicity of a sunny day

The sky was a colour I had never seen before, which is a bold claim for a former art student. Never in my life could I mix enough paint to concoct such a brilliant display of azure, purple, blue, indigo, and sparkling sapphire. Clouds that look as though they had been made from a bizarre hybrid of silk and cotton drifted by, their ice cream shapes floating in a cerulean sea. I could easily become lost in that sky. I’d be happy to let myself drown in that vast expanse of infinite.

The sun tumbled from the sky and landed on a hill of verdant grass and sleeping students, each person languidly laid out in the relaxed sun. Usually Glasgow is a cold place, with the towering buildings casting a shadow over the streets, but not here. In this clearing, this little hill of grass and trees, there was warmth that shone through to the bone.

We were taking full advantage of it. We flocked to the dried up water fountain, to the hardly used wooden benches and even to the precarious ledge that overlooked it all. We sat and we talked and we ate cocktail sausages – for these are things we do when it’s sunny. We smile. We smile more than we smile at any other time in the year, because when the weather is this perfect, even for a singular afternoon, we cannot help but smile. For a fraction of a moment, life’s problems, big and small, seem to flutter away in the breeze – the suns rays filtering through the black clouds hovering over people’s heads, giving them a flicker of light and happiness in a dark time.

I leaned back on the stone steps and lifted my legs off the steps below me. I gently swung them up and down in the serene air and closed my eye, letting the sun sink into my face and rest in the soft tissue around my smiling cheeks. I could feel the cold stone under my hands, little rocks working their way between my fingers, and a bush reached out a branch to stroke my ankle.

It reminded me, suddenly, of my very first day in Norway. Elisabeth and Marie took me on a tour round the village they lived and led me up a huge hill that served as a boundary to a fjord before leading me down the winding road on the other side. At the bottom, when we finally reached it, sat a large yellow hotel that fronted a very small stone beach populated by a few families with their kids waddling into the water – trousers rolled up to their knees and skirts tucked into their underwear. The beach, despite it being tiny, served as the gateway to the wide open fjord in front of us.

It was cold out, but there was no cloud in the sky and the sun shone brightly on the perfectly still water in front of us, except I don’t think I should call it water. It was as if the water had been replaced with nothing, and what I was gazing at was as solid as the tiny rocks moving between my fingers. The coast and the mountains on the far away shore, peaked with perfectly white snow, sat in the depths of the fjord, their summits balancing gracefully on another infinitely blue sky. There was no ripple or disturbance in the reflection, and I felt a small sinking feeling of vertigo.

The sounds that surrounded that beach were musical; the swish of a breeze, the pure ring of children’s laughter, the soft trickle of running water, the slow steady breaths of Marie beside me. These were the types of sounds you find on relaxation CDs, where you listen to calming birdsong or soothing waves to unwind after a stressful day. This was different. With those CDs there’s the ever present knowledge that the stress is still out there, that when you press that Stop button the noise of the cars and the TV and those screaming kids will magically come back. But not there; it was only the relaxing sounds to return to, only the crisp air to breathe, only that eye widening sight to see.

My phone vibrated in my pocket and I picked it up, the smile playing even more on my face as I answered. I took a deep breath, absorbing the summer air whilst having that same feeling in Norway; a feeling of complete awe with total relaxation.
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2 Comments:

At 4:18 pm, Blogger Elisabeth Ice Cream said...

I miss you Joe.

 
At 7:28 pm, Blogger Steven (Wanabe Norsk) said...

This is easily the best piece of writing i have EVER read!!!
You are an amazing writer Joe, please never stop. XXX

 

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