For the last four months, I’ve crossed the Thames twice a day, every workday, over Waterloo Bridge. At first it was a treat; the 243 bus climbed up the slight incline, picked up speed, swerved around bicyclists, and, from the top floor, I could look left and see Big Ben, or right and see Somerset House, and on either side, boats bobbing on the water and tourists stopping as close to the middle as they could and taking pictures. In the evenings, the same 243 bus would turn sharply around Somerset House and suddenly be on the bridge again, and over the water, and then we’d be between the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre, and the roundabout where the IMAX theatre is, and then it would spit us out at Waterloo Station.
Then, after a while, I’d start reading on the bus, or watching House of Cards. I might not look up until I heard the stop called. Then a few days ago, I found this photo; it reminded me of the river coursing through the center of Southeast England, always moving, always there. It has shaped so much of the landscape and topography and history of not just the country but the world, and it’s still there, a living monument, always renewing itself, like Siddhartha’s river, always old and new.
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.