It’s cloudy. Not enough to assume rain, but the clouds are like a blanket covering the sun. There’s a slight breeze just enough to move the hair on my head. As I walk through the park, I notice artists and entertainers singing and drawing, trying to make their passion become a career. The artist was using chalk and was drawing a portrait of a woman from a picture. I didn’t know who the woman was, or how long that man was drawing her, but from what I saw it had to be hours. The detail was amazing; it made me believe the man had to have had 100 different pieces of chalk. But I know that was not the case. I put a pound in his cup and moved on. I hear a musician belting his heart out to get noticed, asking for spare change in return. I see officers who smile as you walk by and offer directions to an older couple. The square is full of activity.
It’s 1:30 now, and the hustle from lunch is now gaining. I notice a variety of people walking about. I see coworkers chatting about their day at the office, and I see a little blonde haired boy around the age of five frolicking about, trying to scare the pigeons. OH THE PIGEONS! They’re everywhere. Just as I write that five flew past barely knocking into me. Their feathers are ruffled and I notice each bird looks slightly different. Some have a sparkle of color on their neck, while others are a plain grey. I see people in love laughing as they sit on the fountains edge, ending their laughs with a kiss. I see a family of tourists taking photos in front of the fountain to show their family back home. I notice that people come here alone or with a group of people. It does not matter.
Thinking about people’s stories has overwhelmed my thoughts. Why are they in London? Was there a reason they came to Trafalgar? I notice a woman eating lunch sitting on the fountain looking up at the sky; is she happy I think? I often used to think about being alone as sadness. Why is that? I’m sitting here alone completely happy. I used to want to go up and talk to people who are alone to make them comforted. Oh how naïve I was. Being alone should not be a sad view but rather a strong and admirable view. There could be various reasons why this woman is alone. There is no reason to assume its negative. I feel apologetic writing about this woman who I do not know, trying to assume what her life is like. But I can’t help it.
As I sit here alone an older woman comes up and sits next to me. I assume she’s a Londoner since she is alone. I don’t think about how I am here alone, it doesn’t bother me. I am happy in the moment and sitting in silence. There’s something relaxing about it. I have the freedom to do what I want to be happy. And I assume the woman next to me and the woman on the fountain feels the same way, also observing the square.
The variety of people amazes me. What is it about this place that attracts tourists, Londoners, and all the in-between? Could it be The National Gallery overlooking the square with its old architecture and beautiful displays of art? Is it the marvelous pools of water with a giant fountain in the center with statues of what appears to be mermaids pouring water into the pool? Is it Nelson’s Column with its glorious height that overlooks the square? Or the four bronze lions that protect Nelson’s Column below it?
I once heard a story from a Londoner about his history with Trafalgar Square and the lions. He said tradition goes that Londoners will take their children to Trafalgar at the age of around 14. They would play on the giant bronze lions and scare the pigeons. The way he told the story I knew it was a significant memory in his life and something important enough to share with others. He smiled and paused between sentences, as if re-living that moment in time.
As I sit here I find myself noticing the small details that one might overlook just merely passing by. The way the water falls from the fountain looks as if in slow motion. As I was walking it looked like a normal fountain to me, but now I see it differently. It has a whole new meaning. The way the water moves slowly now makes me realize that I have to slow down to notice the beauty in London.
I notice people stopping for a quick photo, and I notice people sitting here as I am, observing the beauty here. They could possibly just be resting, but could there really be that many people here to just ‘rest’? I would hope not. I hope people sit down in a park and just observe.
Just now sirens sound throughout the entire square, loud and high pitched. It could almost cause a headache. But no one is fazed. No one even glances up. Why is that? Is it people are used to the loud noise? Or there is something about the sound of the water splashing in the fountains, or the birds flapping their wings that drowns out the sound of the sirens signaling sadness.
I’ve been here for thirty minutes now. I could sit here for hours. There’s nothing keeping me from staying here all day, besides class in a few hours. Part of me knows I will be back to Trafalgar. I don’t know what it is that makes this moment so special. It could be any of the reasons above. I don’t want to overanalyze it because there’s something nice about just enjoying the moment.
So I’m going to put down the laptop, turn off my phone, and walk around Trafalgar a little more.
Cheers xx Kalista Sutton
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<p>Hey everyone! I'm Kali from New York. I am a junior in marketing and communications at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. You can find me at a local coffee shop or outside at a park admiring the views. This is my first overseas trip so I cannot wait to share the experience with you. You can expect posts such as typical tourist photos where I pose in front of a statue, photos of food (who doesn't love that?), and photos of me trying to get the princes attention on the way to class.</p>