I went to London in late March for a much needed escape. I went with a dear friend who had never been and who maintained the same level of excitement the entire time we were there. She is truly adorable. She talked me into going back to places I had already been, this time the experience was through her eyes and boy did she have fun. By the time we had to leave, I decided I didn't want to--I needed to stay to cover some new ground in one of my favorite cities in the world. I kept making deals with the universe to stay, hoping it would send me a sign that it was ok. If the sign would appear, I promised to be extra vigilant with work when I returned to my design studio. And no more damn Pimm's cups for a year--promise.
It was spring time which made it even harder to leave. All the gardens and parks were starting to flush with early blooming tulips, crocuses, narcissus and muscari; it was like a explosion of texture and hues, all in tidy little rows. Although the flowering trees weren't in bloom, the swelling of the buds told me that showers of color were right around the corner. I just needed to stay a little longer than 6 days. Being in Hyde Park in London in the spring made me feel inspired, delirious, happy, excited, well... just completely alive .
With my departure date creeping up, I had yet to receive the sign I was looking for. The idea of returning to work after flower spying in the world's capitol of flawless gardens was almost unthinkable. It was time though, and the day we did left was glorious--so unfair.
When our cab arrived, it looked like a hearse, which was perfect for the melodramatic goodbye that was playing out in my head. As we drove past the last tailored rows of hyacinths, I realized my foreign flower frolicking was over. I glanced sadly at the leafless fruit trees, thinking I never saw one in bloom-- which was hugely disappointing. If only I could see just one flowering tree in bloom before I left, then I could leave contented. It seemed like a fair request to me.
I was putting on lip gloss as we passed the last quadrant of the park. I dropped my make-up bag, and quickly looked up for one last view. Something stood out this time, something I hadn't noticed before-- and it was perfectly pink and fluffy. Oh my God, I thought, it was a blooming cherry tree, the only one I had seen thus far. I stared at it sort of dumb-founded... and then I started thinking...maybe this was the sign, the one I had been waiting for. Maybe I'm supposed to stay and get some more images? Another day of flower spying wouldn't hurt anyone, would it?
I stayed... just one more day, I can't believe I did that. It wasn't that difficult really, British Airways was very amenable, and there was a flight the same time the following day. I got back to the hotel, got a great little suite and off I went with my camera.
That spare day, I discovered two secret gardens, a magnificent field of quince and a hot Fetish Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I also discovered a nice man from a place I've never heard of, but wanted to see. Was it worth it? Sure, until I got my VISA bill- damn that pound. Is there a moral to this story? I don't know, but I do know that sometimes the universe is slow... it's ok to make your own signs. I'm sure glad I did.
Hyde Park and other areas of London, 2007