On disembarking at Covent Garden I knew what I had to do. I’ve been doing it since I was 21 and had first stepped off the tube at this same stop. Eager to sidestep the glut of people waiting for the elevators when I saw the sign for the stairs I followed the arrow and started to mount what I now know as the 193 steps.
More recently I noticed the sign which unhelpfully sits at the top “ This stairway has 193 steps” That’s the sort of information you want to have before you start out and not at the summit. I didn’t see it that first climb. 193 steps would wind most people. I’m sure those top flights winded me too but I also felt a sense of achievement and I challenged myself and older selves to always opt for the covent garden stairs. It will be a sad day when, through age or infirmity, I have to take the lift. That day wasn’t Saturday.
As I climbed those steps I thought of some of those early climbs – for dates and dinners and market visits. This day I was going to a workshop on therapeutic writing at the Poetry Cafe.
I reflected on my last year and the steps I had taken towards realising my own dreams. Twelve months ago I was pacing the mud floor in my rut. I knew I was in it but saw no ledges or footholds to get myself out. I was there a long time. There were some very dark days.The journey ahead of me seemed so immense I didn’t think I was up to the job. But when I thought about staying put, that was unbearable too. Inch by inch to start with, I began to claw my way out. It got easier and when I’d see a chink of light I was encouraged. Where am I on my steps – I’m not sure, but I know I’m on the ascent. I want to feel the sunlight on my face. Maybe there’ll be a platform, maybe there’ll be a ladder, a beanstalk.
My word on that Saturday was Steps. Almost immediately it made an appearance as once settled in our circle in the Poetry cafe we were asked to write on the cityscape. I wrote about the 193 steps and also this
Steps – Winded, elated, congratulated, vindicated.
Steps took me far on Saturday.