I’m cycling up my way to work, sweaty and overheated for the effort, despite the freezing morning air. Winter has arrived all of a sudden and I am definitely not ready for it.

Should I wish to stop cycling and feel awfully cold as a consequence, or keep on going, instead, all the way uphill for the rest of the day, sweaty and tired, but all in all quite warm in my personal dampness?

A red traffic light mercilessly deprives me of my wish and forces me to stop. I start shivering at once. Thoughts of my cosy bed start hunting me.

For no particular reason, I turn my head to the left and what I see almost takes my breath away. You know when you look at a postcard and you think how beautiful is that view? Now imagine to stand in the view.

In this freezing morning, it’s half of Bristol that lies in front of me, framed by the Christmas Steps’ hearty gate. I’m not even on top of the hill, but the atmosphere of the morning, the view filtered by the thin air of a chilly but sunny day, makes it utterly astonishing.

I can barely believe it’s always been there. I can remember seeing it other times – to be honest I see it almost every morning. Has it always been so beautiful? Has the Colston Tower always been so stark and upright? Has the cathedral always been so stubbornly reaching for the clouds? How about that graffiti, have its colors always been so alive against the grey concrete building? And have the houses always been so brilliantly interspersed amongst parks and graffiti, making it look as if they were following the art wave, instead of the opposite?

Has always Bristol been so perfectly encased in a heart shape?

The traffic light turns green again. I don’t mind the cold anymore. I don’t mind cycling. I just enjoy the view with a smile spread on my face and thank every god I know that when someone asks me about Bristol, I can say: “Yeah, I lived there.”


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