Saturday, July 07, 2007

Flying with the Pigeon

Saturday July 7, 2007

It seemed strange to be bathed in sun, after so many weeks of rain. Today, two years after the terrible events of the London bombings, I felt called to go to my dreaming space in my garden and be. It had just gone 08:47.

Hidden from view behind the flourishing greenery of the garden – it had grown luxuriously in the last few weeks; I called the directions and cast a circle. All was quiet. Only a wood pigeon somewhere cooed to his mate.



I walked slowly down the Strand into Trafalgar Square. At the top of the steps outside the National Gallery I stopped and turned my eyes to the blue, blue sky above. A dark spec appeared, growing gradually bigger as it grew nearer, until the blue grey London pidgin, plump and cheerful, landed, bobbing and bowing at my feet.

We stared at each other and I knew that we had work to do together. AS he made to fly off, momentarily I was filled with panic until I realised that I had lifted off the ground and was flying gracefully after him. No time to be amazed, I followed the little darting bird as he soared into the clear summer sky.

High above the dusty sun-drenched streets, we circled the city as it span beneath us. In every direction, the buildings, punctuated by patches of green, stretched out as far as the eye could see.

Over Kings Cross station, we swooped down. Then we were on the Met, Circle and district line platform. On the great rush of an approaching train, we flew down the tunnel towards Algate East. Out of the shadows, as we passed, those strange beings from the tube, the three legged, fox-like , horned and winged creatures I had met before began running along the tracks, as though to form an honour guard.

Emerging at Algate East, we flew back up into the sky, circling London, flying back to Kings Cross and then down in to the tube again. This time we headed for Edgware Road, the tube creatures keeping up with us. At Edgware road, we flew back across the sky to Kings Cross and down to the Piccadilly line, accompanied by the beings of the tube, this time only to Russell Square. For a fourth time, we returned to Kings Cross. Staying above ground, we perched on the roof of a number 30 bus, clinging on with our claws as the bus turned down towards Tavistock Square. Launching ourselves suddenly from the bus roof, we flew round the square, darted in and out of the trees, brushing their branches with our wings as we soared up and out of the Square into the summer morning sky over the city again.

We flew far to the east butted by the sharp wind from the far off sea. We wheeled round to the right and flew south, skirting the rising land, the sun warm on my neck. We flew across the city and snaked up the river as it meandered from the west, the water glinting and rippling beneath us as it flowed to the sea. WE turned north and flew beyond Highgate Hill and Alexander Palace, the hills that, with their Southern cousins, embraced the teaming city within, dissected by its great river.

And as we flew, I thought about London in all its variety. This great city, sheltering millions of peoples from hundreds of communities, its citizens speaking more than 300 languages was resilient because of that very diversity.

And then we were down on a large rock by a roadside in the middle of a bustling settlement on the banks of the great river. London Stone stood solid, drawing us like a great magnet to it. But the river too had her power. She called us to her side. We went gladly, swooping down to dabble our feet in her rippling waves, allowing her to licked coolly and thoughtfully between our claws as we watched the water flow down to the sea, glimmering in the sun. And as it moved, I swear I caught the sight of tangled brown hair and cool green eyes just under the surface, shifting and moving with the light breeze.

A bell tolled. We bode to the river and reluctantly flew back up into the sky. Before I knew it, there was Trafalgar Square slowly turning beneath us. And then we were down on the top step in front of The National Gallery. Clumsily, I got down on my knees before the bowing little pidgin and bent my head. “Droo-droo” I cooed and hoped he understood that I was thanking him. Returning my coo, he bobbed one more time and then lifted his wings and few up into the sky. I watched while he became a tiny speck in the far distance, and then turned and walked back to the Strand.



Above my head, a helicopter circled. I stood up, raising my face to where I heard its engine and waved. The quiet leafy garden waited, lifting hopeful leaves to the morning sun as I made my way back down the garden path.

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