I used to drive. During my last winter in Alaska, I taught at a high school, the university, and the community college arm of the university. My close friends lived ten to twenty miles in the other direction. It was the rare day that I put less than sixty miles on my car, and the rarer day that I did not drive at all. I was last in the States four years ago; I haven't driven a mile since. Now when friends text and ask where I am, the answer is almost invariably on the bus, waiting for a bus, or wondering where the bus is. I do not miss the driving. It would take me much more time to travel from home to town if I took a car, but there are days when I tot up the hours spent queuing at the big blue and white signs.
|Bath Abbey, February 2011|
I stand nowhere more frequently than in front of a bank, looking out at Bath Abbey. I must have hundreds of photographs of those same flying buttresses. Very little changes. The same buses drive by me. The tourists ask for the same directions, and the clock turns or does not turn the time. It's easy to forget the happy luck that brought me here to look not on strip malls but on architecture greater than any I had seen before. It is as easy here as it was in Alaska to forget to see what I'm looking at, to forget to appreciate this city for what it is. I'm trying to remember to note that the abbey, aided by the light and sky, has moods of it's own.
I've lived here for five years now, and it has only recently occurred to me to photograph the back of the Abbey, to take the time to stand back and take in the whole of the building, to wonder what it looked like before the taxi rank twirled around it. What, I wonder, did those hundreds of years of tired people think when contemplating their place below its towers.