Monday, February 05, 2007
You're out on your daily walk... but like the last week or so, you've decided to walk down by the river this morning.
You leave the house before the sun has managed to struggle up over the horizon, hoping that you can beat the day's firce heat.
When the sun finally forces it's way into view you're almost done, and while the shadows still hold some of the night's cool, you can feel the promise of heat in the sun's touch. The sun's rays are long and golden, casting equally long shadows away from everything they touch.
As you head towards the stairs to begin the journey homeward, you decide that you might try walking the rest of the way around the river... down to the weir, and up the other side, so you keep to the path rather than turning off to the stairs.
While you walk you can hear the gentle slap of the water against the bank, the white noise-like swoosh as the cars pass over the bridge, the sharp call of a black swan off to one side and a faint murmur from the girls at the rowing club somewhere behind you. The air smells mostly of the promised heat, but under that you can smell the water and the scent of eucalyptus.
Just as you pass under the bridge you hear something, or sense something, you're not sure which, and turn your head towards the river.
You realise it's one of the eight man rowing crews. You saw them earlier, appreciated the cuteness of the young men and the way they move almost as one.
But as you turn this time your breath catches and your heart seems to skip a beat for just a moment, lodging somewhere in your throat, and you're glad that your feet can keep walking independently of any of the higher brain functions.
The rowers are heading in the same direction as you, the sun at your back, but touching their faces as they row along backwards. And the warm dawn light caresses each and every one of the eight, and turns their already tanned skin into flawless golden silk.
You can't look away, watching as the young men move in perfect synchronization, bare arms flexing and muscles cording as they push forward, shining royal blue lycra clinging tightly to eight seemingly identical bodies. Viewed individually they're different enough... the first rower is blonde while the rest are darker, a couple of them wear sunglasses, to keep that same light that paints them so lovingly in shades of gold out of their eyes. And in any other light you would pick and choose your favourites, but in that moment, in that golden light, they're all perfect.
They glide alongside for the briefest of moments and then start to move past you, and for that one long moment these eight young men are everything they should be and more... they're shining Olympians, brave Spartan warriors, little golden gods moving in a circle of their own beauty and athleticism...
And then they slide out of the beautiful golden light and into the shadow of the bridge.
The spell is broken, you can breathe again.
What a day to not bring your camera.