I worked late today. It was really hot all day, but by time I left work the sun was low in the sky so it was warm without being too stifling. I decided, since it was such a lovely evening, that I’d take the long way home and go for a walk round the lake at Highfields Park.
We don’t tend to think of cities as peaceful, calm places but it felt very calm down by the lake this evening. There were families out for a stroll and children clinging to the climbing frames, eeking out the moments before those dread words – time to go home.
The last of the brightly coloured boats were rowing back to shore, their oars pulling up threads of water and sunlight.
On the croquet lawn men and women in white shorts and t-shirts played out their own version of an English summer. I stood and watched them for a while and enjoyed the hollow sound of mallets hitting croquet balls.
An old man lay on a bench nearby with a hat over his eyes and a radio perched on his stomach. The radio mumbled away about some sport or other.
Out on the lake the ducks pooled sunlight around themselves. Coots fought and the swans kicked lazily at the water.
Studying aesthetics at university has left me with a reluctance to use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe anything. It is a complex concept and who gets to define it? I’m not sure I buy into the idea that it is in the eye of the beholder. I find it hard to believe that anyone could have been down at the lake this evening and not thought it beautiful. I might even go so far as to use a word like ‘grace’ – as in ‘everything was graced with light’ – but that’s really pushing my internal cringe-on-metre.