The other morning I had a meeting in London. On the way there I met up with a friend who works in London and because we arrived early we decided to catch up over a coffee. We bought our coffees and decided to saunter around St Pancras station whilst drinking it. Now I’ve been to St Pancras station about a hundred times. I know where Starbucks is, I know where Costa is. I can find my way to South Eastern trains, East Midlands trains and the Eurostar. I know where the pianos are and I know where the bookshop is. I could direct you to Fat Face, Boots or Matks and Spencer. I even know 3 different routes to the tube station.
Suffice to say if anyone asked me if say I knew St Pancras station I’d definitely say yes. So when my friend suggested we killed the last 5 minutes before our respective trains by exploring the upstairs of the station I didn’t think much of it. We went up to the second floor via a lift near the bookshop and came out onto a concourse near the booking office. There was a restaurant/bar there and we could see the original features of the beautiful building. So far so expected. Then something caught my eye. It was something that I had never noticed before in all the times that I have been in that station; a humongous statue of lovers kissing. When I say it was huge, I mean it is gigantic in its proportions. At my full height I didn’t come up to the top of the pedestal that it was sat upon. I was in awe. I felt compelled to go up to it, to touch it. I was stunned that this beautiful and enormous piece of artwork was there, all this time and I’d never ever noticed it.
Now I noticed it I began to look around me for other things that I had missed in the past. It was amazing; I must literally have walked through this station a hundred times with my eyes wide shut, because now, all of a sudden I was seeing a whole new place. There is a huge clock hanging on the rear of the station wall. It’s literally about three times the height of me and I’d never ever noticed it. It was huge and majestic and totally ignored by me until this very moment. There is also a statue of a man, slightly bigger than me, so lifelike at a distance that I thought it could be a real person looking for a train. Embedded into the floor are brass circles with quotes and words from poems engraved into them. It was honestly like I’d entered another world.
It made me think about how many other things I haven’t noticed in my life. Have I not noticed the blaringly obvious stuff before? What have I missed? What other places have I walked past hundreds of time without ever really looking? Am I always in such a rush to get to where I’m going that I completely miss the awe inspiring beauty along the way? Alternately, have I raced through life missing the warning signs that things aren’t the way that they appear to be?
And in that moment I made a promise to myself; I will try to slow down. I will try to see the beauty between the trees even as I try to leave the forest. I will look beyond the obvious and strive to see the small nuances that make a place or a person unique, individual. I will try to listen more, be more patient, less rushed, because sometimes there is great beauty beyond the obvious.