Looking for the Daffodils
It was always through words that I strolled “beside the lake, beneath the trees”, imagining what it would be like in this part of the world. Ever since I was a child, “I’ve wandered lonely as a cloud”, dreaming, visualising, fantasising the various wonders beautifully wrapped in a string of poetry and prose. I’ve romanticised Wordsworth’s Daffodils, befriended Dickens’ characters, cultivated Austen’s commentaries, enacted tellings of The Bard, traversed through the Diagon Alley and sensed the magnificence of Hogwarts, envisioning Dahl’s maniacal chocolate factory and the expansive world spun by JRR Tolkien.
So, naturally, when I set foot outside the Cardiff airport in mid-September, I was lost in a hypnotic spin until reality hit me. It was everything I imagined and more. The symmetry of the city, the wide expanse of blue sky, the coming of fall and the wavering wind of summer — it seemed too good to be true and well, now, it’s been a month and I still feel sometimes that I need to pinch myself.
My first month in the UK has been full of travels and explorations (with a pinch of studies).
From walking to the Roald Dahl Plass alongside the Cardiff Bay, watching the sunset atop the Cardiff Castle and trekking up a mountain after exploring Caerphilly; to scanning the streets of Exeter, and seeing my old Windows laptop’s wallpaper of the Stonehenge come alive in front of me in Wiltshire — I feel like I’ve finally been granted the wish I so longed for.
My visit to the Stonehenge is of particular highlight when I relay my feelings of awe through these experiences that define my time here. It was a dark, rainy day. Since the trip was already planned and paid for, there was no point in cancelling last minute because of bad weather. I was especially disappointed as I’d quite shamelessly always hoped to replicate the famous wallpaper photograph of the Stonehenge (a childhood craze, this one).
However, the drive there was so beautiful that I soon didn’t bother about the rain. The vast expanse of greenery was reflected through the rain splatters on my windscreen.
We were about 15 minutes away from the site when suddenly one of the students travelling with me in the bus spotted a rainbow. My heart skipped a beat. The view outside was spectacular. It was a dream.
The grass glowed under the soft beam of the sun as a faint rainbow peeped through the clouds.
By the time we walked upto the stones, the sky was a brisk blue and the sun shone bright and warm over the Neolithic monument. As the henges grew bigger in front of me, it became tougher to contain my excitement.
Here it was, in all its glory — the Stonehenge.
I’d been warned about being disappointed when I finally saw it, but that made no sense to me as I stood before this magnificent cultural icon. Of course, what followed was the unending clicking of my DSLR and the composition of various angles and frames. However, by the time I walked away from there I felt like a child who’d been handed her favourite candy; a feeling I fail to put in words but could simply sense deep inside of me. It wasn’t just about the Stonehenge. It was about the sudden realisation of this world of imagination that for years and years has existed inside my head.
The fact is that I have only ever thought of the UK in a literary context. I fancied Wales because I read How Green Was My Valley, I only ever heard about the Lake District thanks to Wordsworth’s poems I studied back in middle school, the whole idea of a Victorian London was embedded in my imagination through Dickens’ writings and through all I read while growing up — right from Enid Blyton to JK Rowling — there wasn’t ever a more beautiful a place I’d heard of than the UK.
Thus, so far, I’m simply glad to say that I’ve had a visual that finally substantiates my belief. This place is breathtaking, alluring and mesmerising and I don’t know if there’s really another way to say it without taking away the charm — it’s beautiful, that’s it!
Originally published at http://iknoorkaur.wordpress.com on October 24, 2018.