This is the scene that greeted Kasey and me the evening we stopped back in London for a mere night in the course of our still-continuing torrent of travels.
Everything was perfect. Perfect temperature, perfect sky, perfect song played at the perfect penetrating decibel by the street musician. Most extraordinarily, perfect people: holding hands, stopping in awe at the sunset, being a crowd of comforting white noise. I dare say it was a solid half-hour of perfection - and I dare say nearly everyone who accompanied us beside the Thames, then walked and stopped with us across the Hungerford Bridge, would agree.
So deep were we into our arcadia that we were exchanging knowing looks with strangers, some of whom were taking pictures, making calls, trying to capture, trying to convey . . . then staring up at the sky, shaking our heads in wonder, in recognition. Because this was it, the sort of nectar we humans live for: arriving at a comforting place where suddenly you're surrounded by enough undeniable bliss that you can't feel the ends of it, can't reach outside of it, for a moment it permeates everything you can comprehend about your existence.
And when we reached the other side, the sunset had more or less dissolved into the darkness, the bobbing sounds of the murmuring crowd had faded, and the musician had stopped playing his song - and Kasey and I felt a significant salutation of welcome from our dear city had passed. Like our lungs and eyes and souls had been unconditionally embraced by the familiar air that had missed us - that we had missed.
Oh my, it was so good to be back.