Reading life-changing stories in different magazines always make me feel like changing my life, too. The stories are always so uplifting, the accompanying glossy photographs of smiling people, perfect sunshiny days, and artfully arranged product/produce always make me sigh with longing, and wonder ‘why don’t I do something like that?
New skills and knowledge gained on the way to ‘achieving the dream’ have more than compensated for any problems or hardships faced. No one is ever shown ‘bending their backs’, or covered in sweat or grime, or emerging from an unforeseen dunking in the sea/river. Rakes and other implements always lean against rustic shed walls, sunlight glinting from worn wooden handles.
The sea/river/lake is always calm. A glorious sunrise/sunset bathes the house/hotel/ski resort in delicious colour. Dew glimmers from spider’s webs, giraffes graze benignly from tree tops, the family cat/dog snoozes beside the fire, food looks ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ delectable. Even an old thread-bare cushion with an obvious head indent is presented as the ultimate desirable object.
And yet, somehow it all resides ‘just out of reach’, mortal depictions immortalised upon the page, air-brushed, carefully lit; a stage.
We can’t put a finger to the spider’s web and watch him spin. We don’t hear the giraffe crunching the leaves, the cat purring or the dog thumping his tail. We will most likely never try the recipes let alone taste the scrumptious dishes, or find the thread-bare cushion to sink our heads into.
As I close the magazine, the images linger, reminding me of the ‘treasures’ in my own life; this morning on the beach – where it was every bit as calm and sunshiny as the magazine photographs – with mounds of seaweed washed up after the easterly storms of these last days. The sand crunched under foot. I dipped my fingers into the cool winter sea and set the ripples running. Seagulls flew overhead, oyster catchers dug about on the exposed rocks for their breakfast. A small dog ran up to me wanting to be friends. People out walking wished me a ‘good morning’.
And it was good.
These are the things I love. It’s rather like ‘walking into the pages of the magazine’.