I have found serenity in some odd places. One night this summer in Spain on the weekend of the annual fair, I went out after dark and walked the streets that earlier had been full of crowds. I’d been there that afternoon and watched jugglers and stiltwalkers, bought pastries and considered buying cheese, saw octopus boiled in giant copper vats and got acquainted with a girl dressed like a hunter from a medieval tapestry and her jewel-eyed falcon. I’d wandered happily through alleyways crammed with food stalls and families, and spent a long time smiling and watching teenagers swooping and shrieking on the funfair rides, all noise and colour and flashing lights.
Perhaps it was the contrast between the excitement of the day and the quiet of the night, but the deserted streets were more magical to me than ever before. There’s something special about being alone in a public place, and even more when it’s dressed up and decorated for celebration. It feels like a privilege. I stood out there in the street for a long time in the warm night air, tasting the stillness, letting quietness sink in, and it felt good.