the perspective from the top deck

journey view metaphor life
I journeyed the other evening on the top deck of the 436 bus. In the front seat.

The view was a panorama of life. Lights, noise, people, machines, movement. London at its liveliest.

Yet I noticed how journeying this way seems somewhat removed from reality. The bus sways in a slightly disconcerting manner. It rounds corners in a less than natural movement. An almost crab like sideways slide, conjoined with a floating sway. Perhaps delivered through a combination of where the front axle is and the height and flex of the bus carcass? The sensation in my seat is one of disconnect from the road. Not grounded. A little in conflict with the laws of motion; arguing against gravity.

My journey moved to train. A rhythmic sway, merged with sleepy hum as the world rushes past. Not the panorama of the bus front seat, but a sideways glance at a speeding blend of nature and manmade construct. More grounded in one sense, definitely more urgent, more purposeful, but a perspective on life and the world that sped past without detail, without richness.

My final leg was by car. In control, driving. Close to the ground, direct response between feet, hands and movement. Yet my attention focused solely on the road – the journey ahead, the vehicles, the junctions, the risks. No time for sideways glances, no time to really notice people, activity, beauty.

I wonder how much time we spend in our lives travelling in one of these metaphors?

Either stood back, with a wider perspective, but somehow floating above reality? A little disoriented. Observing, but not involved?

Or speeding forward, intent on reaching our goal quickly but with little opportunity to notice the world around us other than an oblique awareness of the blur of movement?

Or deciding our own path, in control of our destiny, our own speed, but necessarily focused on the journey ahead. One lens, one angle of view with little capacity for enjoying our surroundings?

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