Some walks in Belfast are hurried; set-browed; mustered. You’re late, or couldn’t figure out the transportation system, or, most commonly, it’s “lashing rain.”
This morning though was bright and misty; you saw your breath but saw the sun peaking through as well. And most catalyzingly, the place was alive with people.
Traffic bustled by, moving from the side streets into the arteries tipped towards the downtown. Lorries pulled around European street corners too small for them; they beeped cajolingly and agreeable commuters put their nondescript little crossovers and hatchbacks into reverse and got out of the way the best they could.
I crossed the only stoplight intersection between myself and my destination with a cohort of parent-and-child units. A large elementary school sits across the main road from where I live and was drawing people from everywhere in through its open gate.
I weaved through gaggles, some single parents surrounded by a few youngsters or tagalong neighbor kids. There was laughter, and there were sullen and somber faces. Here and there marched cross parents with work on their minds as they led their pink-clad peewee up the lane to school; and there again were the exuberant Dads and Mums that looked more excited about school than the youngster whose hand they held.
Passing through the epicenter and then out, walking against the flow of traffic now, it became gradually quieter. I passed a straggler or two farther out; laughed aloud after passing a boy that teetered on the curb and peered dutifully every which way several times over before crossing a silent back alleyway.
The sun in his new, yawning, morning glory set to his task of shining the recently wettened streets – the clouds were breaking and he had more room to move his shoulders and get to work than on some days. The birds reveled. Inside the gates of a quieter schoolyard I enjoyed the site of mini wheelbarrels and shovels littering a class garden project tucked into the expansive corner of the grounds. It was absolutely beautiful.
It’s the little things.