Another entry from the Santa Barbara Chalk Art Festival a couple years ago, or maybe last year, I don’t really remember. Life in the toddlerocracy can be a blur at times… Anyway, this one called out to me while we were walking around admiring the art. If you’ve followed any of my camping and backpacking adventures, you know that I’m a sucker for reflective water. I really like the way that is captured in this work. The muted tones. The movement of the water. The streaks of light. I find it beautiful.
I’m by no means a beach bum. My heart belongs to the mountains. But, there is something romantic and magical about the ocean and cities by the sea. It is likely high on the list of reasons why I’ve never left the coast to live elsewhere. Yet. One day I will. When that day comes I am glad to know that I will have art like this to remind me of the beauty I have been able to witness firsthand.
The city slept, and we huddled together to share our warmth. We didn’t have a choice, really. It was either work together or die during the freezing days and nights of winter. We may call the streets our home, but that doesn’t mean we don’t value our lives.
The city slept, and the cold ate into our bones. We felt as stiff and brittle as the buildings across the river looked. Eventually day would come and those offices would warm with the lights and movement of the movers and shakers of the world. We would stay hidden, out of sight, forgotten, but we would be shaking too. We never stopped shaking from October to May.
The city slept, and the river creaked and moaned. We understood how it felt. We intimately knew its complaints for they were ours as well. All year long it was open to receive the whims of the weather. As the chill wrapped itself around us, it blanketed the surface of the river. That too, could mean our death, because we needed the water to survive. Dehydration was every bit as deadly as hypothermia for us.
The city slept and we crept onto the ice with our borrowed shovels. We needed to break through and pull as much water as we could before the ice weakened under our feet. The longer we took, the more likely the hole would refreeze. The more times we had to reopen the hole, the more likely the ice would crack and send us into a watery grave.
None who had been claimed had ever been rescued in time.
We drew straws each morning to determine who would brave the ice.
They risked death to provide us all with life.
When they fell they were celebrated as heroes as best we could.
A small memorial was built.
Words were spoken in their memory.
A round of cheers sent them on them.
And still the city slept.
This was my response to this week’s Once More With Feeling picture prompt. The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was a backpacking trip I was on years ago where we had to break through ice at a lake we camped at to pump water for our dinner and to refill our canteens… This story flowed from that.
What do you see when you look at the picture? What do you feel?
The ancient city, haven’t slept away the heat of the day, prepared to wake up as evening settled on the water. The lights flared to life and spread their luminescence in ripples across the surface. They were the beacons to rouse people from their slumber and entice them out into the night.
Come on out, let the cool evening air soothe away your cares and concerns.
Come on out, let the night wrap you in its loving embrace.
Come on out, let the current of the music shape your next adventure.
We waited patiently for our turn to hop in a gondola and head across the canal. We weren’t in a hurry. We had nothing to do and no place we had to be.
Live music from a nearby bistro danced along the calm water and fueled our hearts. We sway in time. We became one with each other, one with the city, one with the night.
The sun broke free, finally. The storm had raged unabated for weeks, scouring the city in lashing, biting, stinging sheets of rain. The light forced itself through the thinning clouds to show that autumn had pounced while the city slept. The gloom was an unwelcome reminder that darker and colder days were coming. While the residents might shake off their slumber for a few more weeks, the long sleep of winter would be upon them before they were ready for it. Few ventured out that afternoon because the depression of the changing seasons was too strong to shake.
The sun slipped below the cloud layer to filter lazily through the quiet city streets. After weeks of cleansing rain, the light had finally decided to peek through and see what the storm had accomplished. The gutters and roads were free of their normal castoffs, and the buildings, having been scrubbed of their normal grime, sparkled in the half-glow. The trees had started to turn, heralding the changing of the seasons, and while beautiful, the city slept on awhile longer. The rain had lulled it to a peaceful slumber and not even the stunningly clear afternoon could draw them from their homes. There would be plenty of time to enjoy fall and the approaching winter in the days ahead.
I couldn’t decide which way to take this story, in response to this week’s picture writing prompt provided by moi, so I gave you a short snippet of both. I can see both the beauty and the joy in change, as well as the hardships and struggles prominent here. As, I’ve been in similar situations in my life and seen one or the other depending on what else was going on. I’ve camped in snow and cursed the bitter cold. I’ve camped in snow and been overcome by the beauty of the adventure.
So, what do you see in this picture? The positive? The negative? What speaks to you the most?
Step up Wayne Rooney and show your class, thank you very much. With Rooney slotting home the winner as the end of the Manchester United away match against Fulham at Craven Cottage loomed menacingly, the Red Devils opened up a 10 point lead over their closest chasers: Manchester City.
And, Chelsea lost, so it’s going to be a good day today.
Tomorrow morning (7:30AM my time here in California) I’ll wake up and watch the “game before the game” as the networks are billing it: Manchester City against Liverpool. “The game” is, of course, the Super Bowl. Which I will only be watching if I have nothing better to do, though I do always feel some pull to watch it because it is such an expectation, a social norm – it is just what is supposed to be done. But, I don’t really care about the outcome… perhaps I will root for the 49ers because they are from California.
In the game before the game, I do care about the outcome. Will City win and reduce that gap back to 7 points, will Liverpool win and keep City pointless, will the two sides draw? I don’t really want either team to win… but since there will be points awarded at the end no matter what, I think I’m leaning towards a City loss or a draw.
That is a testament to viewing City as more of a threat and definitely as the only team out of the two who has a chance of giving us any trouble on the run in this season. Gone are the days when Liverpool was challenging. I think they will turn things around in another season or two, but will they ever reclaim their past glory? Will they ever go on a run of succesful seasons like United has put together in the last 20 years? I doubt it.
But, those are thoughts for a different day. Today I’m going to bask in the glory at the top of the Premier League knowing our competition is falling away behind us. I’m going to revel in the fact that at the end of the game we had four strikers on the pitch: Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, and Chicharito (Javier Hernandez). I’m going to be smiling about the great saves that DeGea came up with in goal for us today and the clean sheet he was able to keep.