Tuesday, June 30, 2009

E09: It got Better...

So... Umm...

The day, as days so often do, got better. By about noon I had taken to the streets, and while they were initially chilly, by the time I reached Drummond and South Bridge the sun started to burn away the mist, leaving faint traces of blue overhead. As I continued on the route I had drawn the day before I noticed something odd about the people walking past me. They were dressed a lot more cloak-ier than usual. Indeed, in seemed everyone I passed was wearing a red cloak with black trim, or black cloaks with sleeves that could be spun like propellers, and a hood that flailed left and right as the wearers walked.

Clearly Edinburgh was going through a terrible fashion crisis, or – music was playing... Perhaps the answers to my questions would be found there. I walked towards - - -

Ohh! Street art! For the first time since I arrived, I saw somewhat decent graffiti. Just to the left of Potterrow Port there was a wall of art, with spray paint cans still lying on the ground. These pieces seemed to be, rather than detailed designs, a celebration of colour. Though the last piece was a well constructed dragon, the true beauty in this path was the gestalt creation that each piece blending into one another, surrounding the pedestrians, created.

- - - Oh right, the music, and the people what looked like they were on their way to Hogwarts for their final year of witchcrafty, and wizardry nonsense.

As it turned out, there was no new trend, nor were people cosplaying their favourite warlock. Sadly, it was not even a new cult devoted to the worship of Yogsoth, Cthulhu, or any of the other Elder Gods. It was simply the graduation of those who attended Edinburgh University. Good for them. I'm sure their parents were proud, and that this was a big day for them. It even afforded me some interesting pictures. But – me and Edinburgh University have some problems, you see. Sure they're great, and they blanket the city in wifi access: but their wifi access is for university students only, who have logins, and student numbers, and passwords, and the like. Now this, this wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that there are so many “CENTRAL” networks that they fill up my entire “searching for open network” list, and because they start with “C” they're almost always at the top preventing me from easily seeing what other hotspots might exist. Curse you Edinburgh University. You and your - - -

Ohh a Labyrinth! This was no walled prison, nor was it a garden row. David Bowie appeared nowhere near this, though I'm sure you could find his suitable action figure at the Forbidden Planet down the street. This was a labyrinth built with pebbles in a university park. The idea was to walk around it, and let your mind clear. Let the world fade away. Let thoughts simply come to you.

The whole thing could be skipped over. One could simply walk over it, across all the lines, in three or four strides. But I felt that I needed to slow down. To think. To stop doing what I feel I should do, and really spend some time thinking about what I wanted to do. Following the tour guides is great and all, but it's the small moments that you could never expect or plan for that create lasting memories. It's the moments between the moments that truly matter – and as I spent seven or eight minutes walking the curling paths as they double, and then re-double backed on themselves I began to truly take in this philosophy.

As I continued on I choose to visit the Meadows, a grassy park just south of Lauriston Place. It was here that I first felt the heat of the day upon me, an noticed the horizon was lined with blue. Perhaps the weatherman had not been the terrible purveyor of falsehoods that I initially thought he was.

Now, I know I've mentioned the fact that Edinburgh has a castle in the middle of it, looming above on a big rock faced cliff. I'm not sure if it's that this was the first time I saw it during the day, or if this was the first time I saw it, without the weather being a terrible gloom, but when I saw it this time – I really saw it. Looking at it overhead, as the sun played tricks on the outcroppings, I wanted to tell everyone I passed that there was truly a castle overhead: as if they'd missed it all this time, or not fully noticed it, as I had. I mean, really think about it. A castle. In the middle of your city. Close your eyes, and picture your own city. Now add a real-life castle smack dab in the middle, on a giant cliff. That's amazing!

So amazing, that having finished my walk, I decided not to head back home. I decided to head into the village of Dean.

As it turns out, what one decides to do, and what one ends up doing are two very different things. At first everything was looking promising. I saw water that powered the waterwheels on the mills, and I chatted briefly with a couple of locals who jumped a fence, and waded into the river to illegally catch trout. Then I ran across a kindly old lady. It's always the ones you least suspect. So eager was she to help, that she took my tiny map and, without her bifocals, started telling me where I was and where I was headed. How could I argue with a kindly old lady? To get where I wanted to go, she said, I should walk along side the river on the Water of Leith Walkway.

It was a beautiful riverside walk, and one I would highly encourage anyone to take, if they find themselves in the area. Many hellos and good afternoons were exchanged with people walking their dogs, taking full advantage of the first sun in days. However, when I finally realized that I was not in the village of Dean, and that I was most likely not going to end up there any time soon, I bailed and found myself in the suburbs with great houses, and lovely gardens. I also, as it would prove, found myself no longer on my map.

Yes this kindly old lady who attempted to do me a favour (or acted as I hope I will when I become old, purposefully leading people astray to add some sort of amusement to her own day) had placed me far from the familiar. Twenty minutes later, and I would find myself at the Dean Gallery, and the Gallery of Modern Art, located on Belford Road in the west end.

Though not where I had intended to end up, the surrounding area was quite picturesque and the galleries themselves (admission free) were worth a look. If you'd ever wanted to see a full sized sheep contained in a glass box full of formaldehyde, this is your chance! Ahh modern art.

The heat was failing, and with that the fog descended once more. But no worries, as these few hours had proved to me that nice days were possible in this country. Having come once, they would certainly return again. All I had to do was wait.

A quick stroll through the West Princes Street Gardens, and a brief pause to read Christopher Moore's Practical Demonkeeping, and I was back home, with nothing at all bothering me.

Except for the car alarm -
Going off right outside my window -
For the last twenty minutes!

1 comment:

  1. I like those Tudor style apartments!

    Hey, are you going to Rosslyn Chapel?


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