a life that is anxious and huge

night falls on the thames | London 2012

It’s nearly 5pm on my second day in London (first full, though). This photo is from last night as I sat overlooking the Thames from the balcony of the flat I’m staying in. (And where I am currently sitting and typing right now.) The water is right below me and if I had a zipline, I could slide across it to the Vauxhall Bridge. Ridiculous.

Before I left, I took a few pictures on my phone of pages from my 365 days of Rilke book. It was a last minute thought so I only got ones for the 21st, 22nd & 24th. (Apparently the 23rd wasn’t that interesting) I didn’t read the one for yesterday until this afternoon and I was amazed at how apt is was for my experience of last night.

Slowly evening takes on the garments
held for it by a line of ancient trees.
You look, and the world recedes from you.
Part of it moves heavenward, the rest falls away.

And you are left, belonging to neither fully,
not quite so dark as the silent house,
not quite so sure of eternity
as that shining now in the night sky, a point of light.

You are left, for reasons you can’t explain,
with a life that is anxious and huge,
so that, at times confined, at times expanding,
it becomes in you now stone, now star.

# Rilke

This took my breath away. Because last night even in my extremely tired mind (30+ hours without sleep!) I sat alone on the balcony and watched the night fall on the Thames, the city, and me. And I was left with just that sense — that my life is anxious and huge. And I read that ‘anxious’ in a strangely positive way.

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