January is reputed to be the dreariest month of the year, and sure enough, this week began with heavy grey skies and bitterly cold weather in London.
It was still dark when I got on the Docklands Light Railway to go to work, and the faces of the commuter mirrored the gloom. At work, it is a busy time for us too and the winter months seemed to be devoid of any cheer.
My good friend W met up with me for lunch on a work-related matter on Thursday. He breezed into the building, tall and smiling, and he practically lit up the whole place.
He gamely ate boring British food with nary a comment. We sat and talked work.
“People asked me why I am smiling all the time,” he said whimsically. “That’s because I walk to work! And each time I walk across Tower Bridge, I marvel at London, and my incredible good fortune to live and work here.”
Six weeks ago, after six long years, his contract with a multinational firm finished and was not renewed. He was jobless. At that time, he had shrugged whimsically. “Companies are not hiring at year end,” he said. “But it’s OK.” My heart sank for him, as he had waited for two years for his partner of 10 years to finally located to London, and he was so happy. His only concern was the tenancy of his flat was due for renewal in February, and he wouldn’t be able to stay on if he did not have a job.
But incredibly, within weeks, he found a new job.
He smiled happily and I felt my mood lifting, thinking that yes, he is right. We have a lot to be grateful for.
Later, as I got out of the Canary Wharf underground station, I saw this art installation, Prismatica, which is part of Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights display.
I stood between the shimmering plates and allowed myself to get lost in the experience of being surrounded by reflected light. The greyness and the cold began to recede, I felt the warmth (which was imaginary, as it was so cold today), and I thought about W with his beautiful mind that was filled with light.
If you would like to explore Winter Lights in Canary Wharf, please click on this link that will tell you where they are to be found.