An early morning commute. Dark skies as I walk through what's left of the night, then to the train, and it occurs to me that we have extended our houses to corridors of neon and travelways of fabric seats with lit carriages and dashboards. Home to hub to transport to work.
The outside begins to wake up as my eyes adjust to the creeping light. Sunrise brings a palette of pink and purples as the clouds splash over the growing light. The sky plays tricks with perspective, creating layer upon layer and reaching back further than feels comfortable. Wind moves the wisps into streaks and then into Islands on which worlds may exist. These are world in quicktime, their civilisations rising and falling in seconds as continents drift and evolve; the plate tectonics determining wars, governments and art.
This Ariel geography ripples across the sky and I reflect on a weekend of travel, revel and excitement. I have returned from an adventure - night journeys, cheap hotels, a city en mass and the woman I love. A rugby international, something I have long wanted to see: waking in the morning, walking to the city - becoming part of a tide of others; spotting the rival colours sported and hearing the harmony of accents. It begins, as is typical of my life, in a pub. I drink the drink, hear the voices, the discussion, the anticipation.
Then the street: vendors, queues, more pubs - another drink, and another. There is warmth now, and nudges and spills are well met and give rise to acknowledgment and halloos. The day builds in excitement - consideration and prediction of the game with photo ops, selfies, silly hats and scarfs. Faces are painted, tribes evolve, and we get closer and closer to the stadium. People pour in from all directions, music is played, food is prep-ed, and drinks are pre-poured, ready for the rush.
Then the stage and the theatre. The field stretches out its fingers painted with big screens and neon advertising. The roof is shut, the atmosphere enclosed and beginning to murmur. The players practice, the crowd moves from bar to seats. Music basked in tradition and popularity calls out. The noise is expected and elated. The gladiators arrive surrounded by fanfare, explosion and flames. Anthems are sung, memories recalled and created, then - almost too soon we are ready to begin.
The game is hard, is physical, is frenetic, inspired and frustrating. The crowd ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime:-drunken expostulation, enraged shrieks, sage commentary and culminating in beautiful harmony as the game draws to the end.
Having had our fill we stream out, amongst those dressed for the weather and those dressed for the night, to refill the pubs and bars. We go to watch the other game, to pick apart the experience, to make memories of what we have seen.
We watch lives around us together, filling in the gaps in our knowledge with speculation and imagination. Flagging now we drink on, before a walk back in the rain - accompanied by song and dance (not in tune, and stepped with no skill) and fall gratefully into a sleep inspired by exhaustion, drink, excitement and the glow of the adventure.
The clouds have moved in quick succession, pulling myriad faces as the whim of emotion pulses through them. Beneath we are left breathless, but happy.