A quirky and wonderful post from my wife – who loves cities:
Sometimes I think I appreciate cities as other people appreciate nature. I’ve walked along Bourke Street in Melbourne for the past few hours. Dawdling, really. Stopping at a cafe overlooking the street, sitting on a bench in the mall.
The street is amazing. It’s so full of bitumen, concrete, trees with their bright green spring-ness fluttering in the breeze, big imposing buildings with little ones squished inbetween. There are interesting things to see in the shop windows. Stuff you’d never wear in a fit, stuff the likes of you’ve never seen before. My mind goes in all directions: imagining what people would have thought seeing a television or a vacuum cleaner in a shop window for the first time. Or wondering at the street sign that says ‘formerly Synagogue Lane’.
There are people everywhere. Busy, playful, bored, hassled, waiting. It seems every nation on earth is represented on the pavement and in the vehicles. I catch a sigh here and a laugh there. People talking to each other animatedly. Some looking lost and many who definitely know the mission they’re on. I wonder where all these people will be at the end of the day. Do they have loved ones to come home to? Will they feel they’ve achieved something today?
It’s fun to concentrate on the tiny details of the city. The way the bricks of an old building have been laid, or the little bows on the heels of the lady standing in front of you at the pedestrian crossing.
And then to switch your attention to the vastness of the streetscape. The sudden whoosh of wind hurtling along the canyon between the buildings. Or the volume of humanity moving about. Or the blue sky above me with wisps of clouds appearing and disappearing from view as they duck behind the skyscrapers.
Eventually, it’s time to leave this wonderful built environment. I feel the same as others might after a day in the bush. Refreshed.