By Vita Forest
Arriving early I walk through Hyde Park, hear the busker singing loudly of love, admire the arrangement of winter plantings, ringing the fountain with tight purple and green ornamental cabbages. See a backpacker taking an entire park bench for his pleasure, reclining on top of a sleeping bag, resplendent in his happiness as he luxuriates in the winter sunshine, backpack at his feet. I look at the statues in the fountain and think of Greek Gods and how we will be into them next term. I think of Alexander on his Outing getting stuck down a hole in this general vicinity and being raised up again with water from that very fountain. I see the cathedral with its circles and triangles and gothic spires and think, I should really try and draw that someday.
I walk through the tunnel of fig trees and turn back to see the Archibald Fountain shining, being the light at the end of the tunnel, sun hitting the sparkling water and remember how I had drawn that tunnel of trees long ago, at high school, the branches arching up to meet above the paving stones drawn into the distance with excellent perspective. Remembering how at night the trees were filled with fairy lights and then reading the sign that warns the unwary stroller of the possibility of “tree failure” if there be storms. Just imagine.
I walk behind a shrieking girl clinging onto her Dad as he stomps along, daughter’s hands clasped around his waist, yelling “Where is she? Where is she?” Daughter hysterical with delight as yet again he turns to find she isn’t there.
Because I am early, I cross the road and take the boardwalk over the water on top of the indoor pool. Remember how once water lilies grew in this pool, reeds, bulrushes. What happened to them? I wonder, and how long ago was that? But still, the boardwalk is there, reminding the walker of jetties, piers, ferry wharves, the sea. The museum floats upside in the water as I walk toward it on the boardwalk that I choose to take, up high above the footpath, above the pool, above the street. I take these adventures where I can find them.
I am still too early so I sit in the sun and watch a toddler marvelling at the world – A stick! Another one! I can scrape them in the dirt! Wow! His Dad crouching down beside him, seeing the world through his son’s eyes. And later they mount the boardwalk, enjoying the slight ringing of their feet on the wood and the boy is almost stunned when the fountain shoots sudden water out from under his feet arching out from the wood and into the pool.
Can the world get any more amazing?