There is a certain atmosphere that one can hardly describe. A certain aura that floats around the fringes of reality from time to time. A distinct impression of god knows what. Very tangible, very real, yet very hard to explain. Yet I encountered one of these atmospheres this morning. Those moments that you suddenly realize the world does have the afterglow of magic in every single fiber of its existence. Those moments in your life like it is, as if you are passing trough a fleeting scene in some National Geographic documentary.
The atmosphere I encountered this morning was that of a waking city. Just before nine AM i plunked the hard rubber tires of my adventurous mountain bike down on the pavement and biked into the hart of town. Just before the shops open up, the busy shopping street is specked by only a few people, purposefully marching towards their destination. Some standing outside the shop where they work, waiting for the iron curtain to rise from its slumbering state others yawn the last fragments of blissful sleep away as they strut forward.
It makes me feel like a voyeur. Out of place, lingering behind the scenes of everyday life in the big city. Like catching the magician putting the rabbit INTO his hat before the 'great trick'. As dawn slides out of the shadows of concrete and steel the morning mist breaks the harsh echoes of those few sounds that traverse the void. I feel like a spectator who took the wrong turn and ended up backstage.
And yet i feel like I belong. Like i belong in this place just as much as the morning mist or the delivery van standing in front of the pizza place. Very soon the bustle of everyday life will bring hordes of tourists and people who just visit the city for a single day. Yet I belong. I belong in this city. Like having a backstage pass to roam through and behind the magic of all of it. Being a part of it just like the city itself.
One by one strange faces march into the town. Some rushing for a bargain, heads down peering into the windows of the countless shops. Others amazed at urban life. Walking, slightly gawking, in and at the world of city-dwellers. And me .. I just march trough the crowd (at a slightly faster pace). The naiveté of the average shopper replaced by the comfort and perhaps even by the arrogance of somebody who belongs there. Stand back .. Local coming through.
Some survey woman tries to stop me (along with dozens of other shoppers) in the middle of the high street, beckoning for a moment of my time. I smile apologetically while i firmly state.. "Please, I live here, I traverse this high street twenty times a day". She obviously knows when to retreat, not wanting to dull down her sharp sales techniques on the leathered skin of the " local ". She huddles away toward another shopper who traverses the high street at a irritatingly slow pace. Bags loaded with shopping trophies, Eyes dancing across brightly lit "etalages" , Walking, slightly gawking at the wonders of urban life .. The perfect prey.
As I hear the first line of the well rehearsed survey clatter down on the un-expecting witness I smile.. Those country folks 🙂 … Suckersssss !