Whenever homesickness threatens to drown me into a sea of memories, longing and nostalgia, a walk on the banks of the Thames river which is so close to where I stay, and a look at its stunning vastness and breath-taking beauty lifts my plunging moods almost instantly. Memories of my familiar world are now replaced with scenes of beauty, awe, wonder and inspiration. I am embraced in warm hugs exuding love, kindness and comfort. Cocooned and feeling secure in its welcoming embrace, I make it a point to go with the flow, constantly being reminded that Thames simply keeps gushing and flowing no matter how rough the tide is.
‘Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! The river glideth at his own sweet will. Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still.’
Quotes like the above one about Thames abound in English poetry. While studying English back home in India during college, I remember how much our curriculum revolved around luminaries like Tennyson, Wordsworth, T.S Eliot and other romantic poets who weaved magic in their poetry. Invariably, the Thames river formed the backdrop of their poems influencing and inspiring them to create works of wonder and leaving the posterity in awe of them forever. As I kept appreciating their poems, never ever did I have a thought let alone a vision of strolling along the banks of the Thames river and listening to the soft rustles of its waves.
Now to get a view of the legendary river as soon as I wake up in the morning and have it as a companion while I stride my way to a nearby grocery store is a blessing as well as a source of mammoth inspiration and solace. Under the mesmerising beauty of the river, it is easy to get transported to an oasis of serenity, and connect instantly with a mystic stillness and a higher power! With the Thames river so near me, room for negative feelings like anxiety, boredom and depression simply don’t exist., In fact, those emotions are relegated and buried in the lowest realms of my subconscious left without the slightest chance of surfacing up. A look at the river empowers me with optimism and confidence to face the challenges as also the many vicissitudes of life. The gentle hushes of the waves while energising the mind and soothing it infuses it with incredible creativity, positivity and inspiration. Given all this, it is now easy to understand why so many poets of the 19th century sought refuge under the river’s benign gaze.