My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Reasons to be alive: spots in time

I’ve been dipping into Alain De Botton’s The Art of Travel, as I do when I travel and reflect upon the nature of travel. De Botton tells us that the poet William Wordsworth believed that certain scenes stay with us throughout our lives and each time they enter our consciousness they offer a contrast to and relief from the present. De Botton writes about his own ‘spot of time’ during a visit to the Lake District, when, sitting on a bench in the late afternoon, he looks at a clump of trees by a stream and suddenly appreciates their “sharp gradations of green, as if someone had fanned out samples from a colour chart”. He wants to bury his face in the trees and be restored by their smell, and it strikes him as extraordinary that nature could “have come up with a scene so utterly suited to a human sense of beauty and proportion.” De Botton admits to being unaware of having fixed the scene to memory until one afternoon when he’s stuck in a traffic jam in London, “… the trees came back to me, pushing aside a raft of meetings and unanswered correspondence and asserting themselves in my consciousness. I was carried away from the traffic and the crowds and returned to trees whose names I didn’t know but which I could see as clearly as if they were standing before me. These trees provided a ledge against which I could rest my thoughts; they protected me from the eddies of anxiety and, in a small way that afternoon, contributed a reason to be alive.”

No comments: