A Surprise River View

It’s true to say I am fascinated by moments of dissonance in everyday life; surreal experiences which just strike from nowhere. This view above is one such moment.

In one sense, it’s just a (admittedly very attractive) view of a river. But the surreal aspect for me is that it is a bend of the River Aire in Leeds. Within the city. I found it extraordinary: it looked like a lazy, meandering French river. Except it’s in Leeds, and I only ‘discovered’ this view in Horsforth for the first time at the weekend.

Seeing the river from this angle is very strange. Maybe it’s the size; by the time it reaches the city centre, it’s more of a large canal. Maybe it’s the calm, picturesque aspect. Urban rivers in provincial England don’t normally have this soothing countryside quality. Maybe it’s the fact I happened upon the scene by descending a hitherto completely unknown little road.

I felt I was in another country. Another world. I was compelled to look at Google earth, to check how this section fitted into my normal perceptions of the river in Leeds. I’m still not sure how it does, but I now feel an urge to walk the length of the river across the city. This is something I very much want to know more about.


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