Bridge to the Other Side: Reflections from London
So here I go again, meeting eternity halfway on the bridge to the other side. Scattering my heart in the halls of infinity. Watching the pieces of myself form silver moments lost in time while I cross the blue line that leads to the next morning, to the next day. Hoping that it will bring one of those moments that make a difference. Longing for the change, for the unknown around the corner that turns my wheel.
The unknown, it isn't only the spin; in a way it is the wheel itself, especially here in London, where I walk through those streets that shelter all those houses that house all those shops and pubs and cafés. All those places that flood me with past memories. The taste of an Indian Thali in the Masala Zone, just like the one in this rooftop restaurant in Delhi. The sound of black beats and white jazz in the streets, just like the sound of the nights in San Francisco. The waves of the Thames passing the Millennium Bridge, just like the waves of the Seine passing Pont Neuf. All those tastes. All those streets. All those rivers. All those moments. One leading to another. One connecting to another. One turning to another. Me being part of all I met. All I met being part of me.
All those past walks and past talks. All those moods and thoughts that seem to come with the signs of street cafés. With the clouds in the cappuccinos. With the tickets to subway trains. With the quotes of Jack Kerouac. "A kind of lyrical ecstasy, a feeling of not belonging in any one place or in any one moment, a wild restless longing to be elsewhere, everywhere, now." All this, brought upon by those abroad moments.
What next, you ask. Where to go from there. St. Paul's Cathedral, St. James's Palace, Westminster Abby, Queen's House? None of this, I am told. The real London, it is not a sight, it is pub. It is to be found in between the Gothic cellars in the Bank District and the wine bars at the Embankment. In between the Irish pubs in Holborn and the Inns at Leicester Square. Coach & Horses. King's Head & Eight Bells. The Moon & Six Pence. Some souls have spent half their lives here. Some souls still live here. Tables turning, lifelines crossing. The bricks of those old houses, they are made of stone, they are made of stories. Sit and have a pint to listen, sit and be moved by the hands of time, sit and reach out for Neverland.
Second to the right and then straight on all the way until morning, that is the way, that is how to go there. The only way is onwards, for you don't know how to stop. The only obstacle the fact that magic shores only become visible when they are out looking for you. Until then, there's nothing left to do but to keep on. To keep on doing the things you are afraid to do. To keep on doing the things you have to do. To keep on doing those things worth doing, those things that might break your heart.
But then hearts are tough, they say. Most times hearts don't break, they say. Hearts might carve in but they also have the power to collect their scattered pieces. To put them together in a new way. In a new mosaic that holds all those moments and memories that matter. In a kaleidoscope combination of the turns you took on the long and winding road. In a karmic constellation of the encounters you made. The footsteps you came across. The ones who have been there before you. Ulysses and Kerouac. McCann and Peter Pan. James D. and Bobby G.. All of them looking for the same place. All of them searching for this far away space. To far away to ever be reached it feels. Until suddenly it appears one step away, one breath away. Just to disappear again like a yellow butterfly when you try to catch its essence.
You try to chase it. You try to hold it. Yet this is not the way to get to it. You have to be daring. You have to be patient. You have to let go. You have to risk it all. You have to trust. You have to love. You have to dream as if you'll live forever. You'll have to live as if you'll die today. You have to lose those lists of main attractions. You have to learn that travelling isn't so much about the places. It is the people you will remember. Different people, for different persons, for different times, for different places. Thus there is no way to list them in a book. To arrange them in a tour.
The travel guides take the easy way out. They concentrate on listing the usual sights. Big Ben. Madame Tussauds. The Tower of London. Windsor Castle. Buckingham Palace. All those places. Just names on a map. They aren't alive. They haven't the answers.
The answers. Maybe they can't be put in words anyway. Maybe they rather can be found in between the lines of a beat poem. In the reflections of an Impressionist painting. In the rhythm of a subway train. In those moments you can't really capture. In those moods you can't really hold on to. In those memories that only make sense to you and to no one else.
It is exactly those memories, those personal pieces of your past that form a path into a different kind of present. One that is not so much about the next corner or the last corner. One that is not so much about the answers and the questions. One that is more about the sound of thoughts. About the colour of feelings that drift through the corridors of your life like clouds. About the lost moments. Their shadows obscure the view. They hide the door that leads into the room you search for. The one that leads outside and inside. The one that is opening to a place you don't know the direction of. The one that has no name, and thus is so hard to come across.
Sometimes you feel that you are so close. So close, just a breath away. But you just can't find the entrance. That is when you feel like Kerouac again. When you feel like someone abandoned, lost, really forgotten by something, something majestic and beautiful that you saw in the world.
These are the times that taint your world in blue. Blue like the oceans. Blue like the sky. Leaving you to turn with the tides again and again. Leaving you to keep on walking through dark nights. Through high hopes and lost dreams. Until you reach the place you need to be. And this place, it probably will be just the place where it all has begun a long time ago. With a star in the sky that already gave you all the answers. Only that you weren't able to understand them back then.