A Romance for Christmas

A Romance for Christmas
Last weekend we (my wife and I) went to see the new Avatar movie. There were moments when it linked straight back to the first movie.  Especially at the beginning where we are being re acquainted with Jake and Ney’tiri and brought up to date with their family.
Quite obviously, to hook us in emotionally with the way we felt when we fell in love with the characters the first-time round, a decade or so ago.  You can often feel the emotion build from the pit of your stomach and tears well up. Quite quickly too sometimes.
Last month I went to London for a weekend with my son, we’d got tickets for two gigs, so we decided to book a room in which to stay.  We got caught up in train strikes, mislaid concert tickets, jumped off a bus and got wet in the rain, discovered one venue wasn’t the one we thought it was and we were regrettably late getting to one gig and missed half the set of the one band we went to see.
In fact, at one point early afternoon on the Saturday I was seriously thinking this is a disaster. For me it was about spending quality time with my son and the one thing we weren’t getting was exactly that. Quality time.
We were sitting on a bus in the rain taking an hour to do a journey that would’ve been 20 minutes on the train.  It was raining and the bus was packed. We sat in silence, well not silence, but we weren’t talking.
Eventually we got to Camden Town and got some food in the market.  We found a couple of seats and as we ate we relaxed and positivity took hold, we actually began making some decisions for ourselves rather than just reacting to our surroundings and acting accordingly.
We had a quick look around the market and then began walking along Regents Canal in a southerly direction.  There is a magic about waterways in cities, especially when they are sunken.  The noise of the city, whilst ever present, fades into the distance and there is a slightly surreal feel to the atmosphere.  We walked past canal boats, container homes, a library barge and some every recent restored buildings that are a magnificent contrast to the typical Victorian brick built warehouses that seem to be almost everywhere.  Metals, glass work, straight lines and reflections with lights beginning to reflect in many different directions as the sun began to set and day slowly passed into night. There is carefully planned planting, evergreens such as laurels and skimmias with buddleia and viburnhams fighting their way through in ‘look at me’ competition.
However, we talk, we talk about yesterday, today, Ross’ recent move and the work he is doing on the new home, his enthusiasm for his forthcoming fatherhood, rugby, golf, walks, the countryside.  Everything and nothing.  We enjoy a cuppa in a surprise development discovered behind an arch in the wall supporting the canal bank.  It’s massive and also a little surreal in the half light. 
Do you remember ‘Sapphire and Steel’ from years ago? They could have filmed some of that here.
We walk until the canal vanishes below ground at the Angel and head to Brixton before the gig at the Academy.  We also had some chicken strips that were so hot we had to go and find some milk shakes to bring our throats down to bearable levels of heat. There was also the gig of course.
We returned home next day.  Ross was keen to get home and I missed my wife.
That weekend was only a month ago, but my brain has already processed it and taken that afternoon and put rose tinted specs on it.  It is the emotional highpoint of the weekend for me.  The gigs were great, we had some fantastic food and stayed in a lovely flat.  But walking along the canal with Ross was definitely the highpoint.  I could talk about the air and the outdoors, as I’m prone to do, but it was the slow pace of time with my son.
So, what have these two events have to do with each other?  Well it was whilst watching the Avatar movie that I got thinking about romance. Well, there wasn’t much plot to keep me interested.  Movies are a romance, most of them are, even if they are gruesome, they tend to offer a view of life that we’d like to think exists, even if often if doesn’t, or couldn’t.
The ecological connections emotionally layered in the original Avatar exist, if you just choose to learn and receive, (and science is starting to prove that they do).  Remember Midsommer Murders, that’s a slice of English life that is romance at its best, well unless you are one of the plentiful victims that provide the varied plots.
In fact, most entertainment is an escape, a romance.
And so are our memories.  It’s just that we need a little bit of time to pass to make them so.  As my example above shows we don’t need very much to pass, but we do need a little.
However, that transformation happens in our minds.  There’s nothing else involved, it’s all in our head.  Think about it.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could reduce the time needed to make the transformation.  Then we could have real life romance, right here right now.
I think we get close to it during the early days of a new romance, before we allow our perception of reality to kick back in.
Have a lovely romance this Christmas.  Romance this lovely Christmas.
Simon Pollard. Countryman and Modern Day Pagan.

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