I'm not really a big believer in the whole "messages from the Universe" shtick, so perhaps this post should have been titled 'Serendipitous Moments' instead. Suffice it to say that we went for a walk yesterday (new to us, recommended by family) that delivered a couple of those happy little happenstances.
The Easter Sunday weather was glorious - very sunny but with that crisp, early Spring chilliness in the air (in other words, perfect weather for walking). The route took us along a narrow strip of land between the river and the canal. The picture below gives a completely false impression - it looks just like an idyllic country lane doesn't it? As long as you looked straight ahead, it really could have been - complete with cheerful birdsong and rippling river noises in the background. In reality if you looked right (across the canal), or left (across the river), there were long, intermittent stretches of fenced off industrial buildings and wasteland visible throught the trees on both sides. It reminded me a bit of a documentary I saw about Chernobyl - in a 'nature prevailing in the face of man-made destruction' kind of way. The other thing missing from this photo is the constant stream of joggers and cyclists coming at us from both directions - it's quite miraculous that there isn't at least one other person in view here!
Moment 1: I have lived for nearly six decades and can honestly say that in all that time I have never encountered (or perhaps, more accurately, noticed) the amazing pom-pom loveliness that is Goat Willow blossom in Spring. There were dozens and dozens of these trees along the route and I must have stopped to take a photo at nearly every one of them. So delicate, so unusual, so beautiful! I don't know how I've reached such a ripe old age without knowing that those familiar silver-grey-velvet 'cat's paw' buds transform into such flamboyant flowers.
There were plenty of the more traditional blossoming trees doing their best 'sunshine through petals and new leaves' to entice me, but the Goat Willow absolutely stole the show. Once seen, never forgotten.
Moment 2: About two thirds of the way into the walk the path crossed under the motorway, the massive bridge creating a soaring roof space below, like an open air secular cathedral, flanked by huge graffiti-embellished concrete pillars.
Maybe it was something to do with the quality of light streaming in, the sunshine giving the cool grey columns a soft peachy glow, but I thought it was absolutely beautiful...and then we spotted the little mosaic below, which someone had cemented onto one of the pillars, and it just seemed like such a perfect message for such a perfect day.