I was first drawn to this scene by its vastness and its detail. It is the City of London, cast in a thickset monochrome in order to expose the detail, and in order to preserve the memory of a moment that took my breath away.
Notwithstanding the beauty and ingenuity apparent in the concrete landscape, with its acute form softened by the water that laces itself about the rigid lines like an organic vine, there is something cold and regimented that accompanies its message. It is difficult to pin down with accuracy, or to beautifully distil or embellish with lush prose; it is perhaps best described as a dark and dense mood that slowly emanates and subsumes from the gut, like the prospect of devastating loss as realised by David in his encounter with Goliath.
But like the magnet it still pulls. Pause for a second. Take a deep breath. There. Feel it?
I am undoubtedly a component to this impressive machinery. I am not the indispensable part or cog; rather, I am one who subscribes to its way of life. I play the game, day in, day out. I function and I navigate its nuances and processes to exhaustion, coming home tired, spent, only to do the same again tomorrow. Its slick and impeccable architecture misrepresents the grind and the sweat that sustains it, and therein lies its first and most fundamental falsity. The City is not, you might say, unlike the empires built on and by the enslaved, who sadly were ridiculed by their masters, albeit from behind closed doors, or the wry smile.
There is adventure on the tongues of travellers …
But that is not to say that this place is devoid of happiness. There are the vestibules where the kind and the tolerant and the good congregate and bestow upon each other their well wishes. There is the entertainment and the songs and the night lights to which the good are entitled. There is adventure both above and below ground, and the ability to traverse districts at a glance. There is adventure on the tongues of travellers, who flock here from afar. And there is opportunity in each other’s company.
Life is, at the end of the day, about what you are drawn to, and what makes you happy. I can’t help but feel, though, that as we aspire and build outward (and upward) we lose sight of the more innate meaning, which in the high-rise wind traps is rendered a mere echo or murmur, or at worst lost. But like the magnet it still pulls. Pause for a second. Take a deep breath. There. Feel it?