Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
– Excerpt from the poem, The Solitary Reaper, by William Wordsworth
I remember those lines from back in school, where we studied this poem as part of our English literature class. To give a bit of context, the poem is about how Wordsworth, the poet, comes across a lone woman singing and harvesting grains in a field, alone in a picturesque valley. And while he doesn’t understand her exact words, he stops to listen nonetheless and wonders what she is singing about — whether it is about an old battle, personal loss or pain. He continues to listen to her song and in the end, quietly walks away, taking her music with him, in his heart.
Needless to say, I absolutely loved this poem (Guess I am just a hopeless romantic!). And much like Wordsworth’s walk in the mountains, I often find the occasional solitary escapes within the city equally enriching; those spaces and moments where I am close enough to see something beautiful in the city, but far enough to just be a passive observer. And sometimes, when I am walking around with a camera around my neck, sitting alone watching the ocean waves, or just having some lunch by myself with a book for company, I find others doing the same, making me wonder what their story could be.
But my musings are often short-lived, for you know what they say: You can fence yourself in, but you can’t forever fence the world out. At least, not in a city. For now, with a full to-do list staring at me, it is time to get back to my reality. So adios until my next post!