The path heading down to the canal was shadowed by a canopy of trees and as I walked downhill it felt like everything was in HD. Bird calls were sharper, the fragrant smell of the waterside plants was stronger, ducks were chillin’ out on the canal and everything just felt better. I wasn’t under the little canopy for long before I was back in the sunshine, the cream stones of the canal side buildings were gleaming in the rays, reminding me that Lancaster is actually a stunning city, when you manage to crawl out of the library to appreciate it.
I heard a little ‘ding’ from a bicycle behind me and then heard a woman shout ahead, ‘just letting you know I’m here, not that I’m going very fast or wearing lycra!’ She was wearing a long skirt and high socks, looking amazingly wacky, and laughing as she rode past. I’m guessing that the unexpected positivity from such a small experience was the reason that it’s stayed in my head. Or maybe it’s the contrast from my usual encounters at home, from the good ol’ snarl to the awkward, unbroken eye contact with a dead-pan faced chav pulling a wheelie for the full duration of time it takes to pass you by.
I walked up the hill away from the canal and turned onto another road.
Just a small detour; following this round should bring me back to the main road. It didn’t.
Instead it brought me to Lancaster Cathedral, which I (surprisingly) had never seen before. The size of the Cathedral was pretty overwhelming. The spire reached up to the matte grey clouds that covered, but also strangely seemed to brighten, the sky. Deciding to embrace my lil hipster vibe I wanted to take some pics. I had a little play around with perspectives and got a couple of pictures, from slightly gothic to a token look how tall this building is shot.
After appreciating the view, I carried on and began to see signs for Williamson Park. May as well, I thought, and in ten minutes I was surrounded by flowers, trees and fountains.
I wandered around, worries of people judging me for being alone well behind me, and completely immersed myself in the park. I found a waterfall and, loving the sound of running water, decided to sit on a nearby bench. It was only a small waterfall, and the foamy water at the bottom wasn’t exactly appealing, but it was enough to make me feel awesome. It was a moment in time where those anxious niggles that I had become so used to just weren’t there. There was no, what if you didn’t lock the door, someone nearby probably thinks you’re fat, your hair might be a mess, is your mum ok, thoughts. I was literally sitting, thinking about nothing and loving every minute of it.
When someone else found my little sanctuary, I gave it a couple of minutes and then left, walked up to Ashton Memorial, found some ducklings, stroked a dog, walked by the lakeside and then finally began to head home.
The whole time in the park I think I was probably a little glassy eyed, ngl. I was just completely overwhelmed by how happy I felt. All I’d done was walk around a town centre and park, but I couldn’t be happier. I know if I was with friends or family that, even though it would still have been fun, the experience would have been totally different.
The drive home was filled with the sound of my newly bought CD’s and a completely renewed, awesome vibe. After struggling with the ending of a relationship that had shook me to my absolute core, through both amazing and awful times; this experience reacquainted me with a part of myself that I’d lately only noticed in flickers, or in times of absolute indecision. She was still there, whole and stronger than ever.
As I returned to my hometown, opened the door to my mum’s house and was bombarded by my plethora of pets, I laughed to myself and thought how ridiculous it would have been to let anxious thoughts take such an amazing day away from me.