I found this little video about the Szechenyi Baths in Budapest’s City Park buried deep in a folder on my computer, abandoned long ago. I was so happy to be making it, a little love poem to one of my favorite places on the planet.
But even before pushing that little arrow to make it play, I remembered why I stopped. Just stopped.
Maybe I shouldn’t have started.
The baths were a jewel. And not just my jewel. All the good adjectives apply. Please apply them. Start with romantic. Glide on to hypnotic. Swoosh over to fairytale exotic.
Wait. The good adjectives applied. Past tense.
It’s history now; the mysterious dreaminess is gone, replaced by … just replaced. Ruined? That’s harsh, but I’d say yes. The gritty groove. The slinky, sexy slightly worn’s gone. How would I know? you ask. I haven’t been there in a long time.
Well, see, that’s the thing about an atmosphere. An experience. It has a rhythm. It has a particular and rare swiss-watch-like tick tick tick to it. Maybe you can disturb it a bit and it’ll re-adjust itself, recalibrate. Much more and there’s no turning back.
And so it goes. Can’t go around protecting all the world’s little jewels, can we?
Actually, I think we can, but first we have to know we have a jewel. That’s the tricky part.