It’s only when I step back again and check, that I really see it. The door to the block of flats is open – and so is the one at the back. Instead of the usual grey stone facade, or even Victorian tile work inside, I catch sight of a patch of green.
Perhaps someone is airing the building – or moving something into the garden. But they have also trapped a patch of sunlight there, to balance on the green.
It’s easy to walk down this street – easy on the eye. There’s a curve to the run of buildings – tenements in the acceptable Edinburgh sense (rather than the derogatory meaning of tenements), flats leading off a common stair. The front gardens are mostly cared for, hedges clipped.
All is well, and proper, and I normally sail straight past on my school pick-up route. I’m checking the time, I’m juggling the afternoon snack in my pocket, making sure the bus pass is accessible.
I know that when I round the corner, I’ll see more trees, wide open space. That’s my main hit of greenery for the day. I can breath it in, listen to the wind in the trees, turn up my collar and head for the school gates.
Except this. This stops me, slows me down. I feel like I am being let in on a secret. The day is not all that warm, a bit blustery, but somehow the sun has decided to hide out in this back green.
I think a found item is not just about the artistry of an item, intentional or otherwise. I think there’s something of the unexpectedness of it. Beauty in the midst of a very everyday activity.
This is more like a gift for anyone prepared to stop – to take a second look. Five minutes later, and the sun will be chased off by drizzle. The moment is as short as that.
I carry the depth of the green and the quality of the light, inside, as the school doors open, and the small body hurtles out, towards me, smiling.