This morning brings memory moments; the blue tinge in the departing night sky takes me to azure mornings in a sleepy Rome, where the August heat is beginning to wake up, where trash is being collected and stalls set up. The city's statues seem to be yawning and reaching for their espresso, so I join in -profligate in my desire to sit and watch as the sun and fellow tourists appear around the Pantheon.
From here my mind takes me to an icy New York, to steam rising from the subways, to tracks of snow along the sidewalk, to layers of insulation with boots, coats, hats and gloves, and the diner with breakfasts that spread from here to eternity along the counter. The city that never sleeps wakes with one eye open, mine are filled with jet lag however, and I stumble over my order overwhelmed with the choice and settling for bacon of some sort, some eggs and probably maple syrup.
These memories bring me back to where I walk. I realise the people waking braced against the cold, the shops readying for the day - lights flickering on, shutters raising, and others emerging from their houses and trimmed gardens for work coughing and buttoning up. It strikes me that in the last few months I have got to know where I live more precisely, I have begun to look around me. For a long time my surroundings were a contructed map that took in where I worked and placed it side by side with my house - as if I moved seamlessly from one to the other, and adjacent to the supermarket and the high street. This is easy to do with a commute - you remove the details of the distance, the connection with the world around you. Now I have begun to look.
Yesterday I used my breaks to sketch where I was - the results are rushed of course, but they began to deconstruct my reason for being there through the surroundings in which I found myself. Quick sketches can become drawings, can become a way of understanding how you are in the world by your responses to what you see.
Memory moments are good, they contrast people and places, this helps us realise and understand who and where we are. Dreams, too, can be fun - they take us beyond out horizons and make us want to feel a bit more. Yet I worry of aspiration - I worry of the comparison that assumes rights and wrongs, that deals in the absolutes of better and worse, not the subtleties of difference and nuance. The journey is completed by the return, and the exotic is only so through contrast. Sunny memories are created on days without rain, this is not to say that it doesn't, it won't, it can't rain.
So as my morning can take me to the steps of the Duomo in Florence, gelato in hand with the warmth of midnight and the laughter of revellers around me; it is this memory that let's me see the sneeze of the secretary, the shuffle of the labourer, the chuckle of the shop keeper, and the lilac in the sunrise. Though I may dream of these moments I use them to season my day - enhancing the flavour, not to drown it out.