Monday, January 27, 2020

Addison's Walk

On the grounds of Magdalen College at Oxford University, a lovely walking space can be found.

Addison's Walk.

A favorite of CS Lewis. He walked it nearly every day.
My mind wandered throughout our walk. Was I stepping on the exact spot he tread? Silly, I know, but wow. CS Lewis walked this same path. And a beautiful one it was.
I read he, along with Hugo Dyson and JRR Tolkien "began (in Addison's Walk just after dinner) on metaphor and myth-interrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining..."

When we were there, it really was raining. Not hard. Just enough to keep us under the canopy of leaves in the above photo. I didn't mind. Just kept me there on the path a bit longer.

There are many deer in the reserve. Magnificent creatures. A lovely sight.
Along the way, we found this plaque. On it, the words of the poem CS Lewis wrote are engraved.

                                     What the bird said early in the year

I heard in Addison's Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. 
This year. This year. 

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year, not want of rain destroy the peas. 

This year time's nature will no more defeat you, 
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you. 

This time they will not lead you round and back 
To Autumn, one year older, by the well-worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell, 
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell. 

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick!
The gates are drawn apart


  













Monday, January 20, 2020

Sidetracked

I've been a bit distracted since the news of  Harry and Meghan's announcement to step back from the royal family last week.

Some could care less. I get that.

But the thing is, I'm an Anglophile. It all is very fascinating to me. Nothing like this has happened since the abdication of King Edward VIII.

Therefore, I choose to read about it. Soon it will be yesterday's news, but for now, I'm all in!




Thursday, January 16, 2020

Snow vs. Sun

A foot of snow is aimed at us. We'll see how much we actually get, but it's January. Snow happens.  A lot. Temperatures plummet. Semis stall in the middle of the freeway. Truly. I experienced it this morning. Made me late for work.

I don't mind the Narnia look. Cross country skiing. Snowshoeing. It's what we do here in the tundra.


Hawaii vs. Wisconsin.
I'm trying to convince myself.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Magdalen College

I never wanted this walking tour to end. So glad we were self-guided. The views were breathtaking. 
Take this one for instance.
A first glimpse at the glorious Magdalen Tower. No wonder Oxford is called the "City of Dreaming Spires."
Obviously, one can tell it was extremely dry while we were on holiday in England. Not a lot of green grass.
See what I mean.
However, we did manage to find some color. Notice the roses climbing the wall in the upper left hand corner. Lovely, I say. Lovely.
Goosebumps. What can I say. I'm really here. The site where CS Lewis taught. Those lucky students.
I snapped photo after photo of the meticulously kept grounds.
The list is vast as to who walked through those college doors. Historians, philosophers, linguists, clergy, justice. Even King Edward VIII (the one who abdicated) attended. However, he didn't graduate.
My camera got a workout!
Was wowed as I walked to find the toilets! Flowers blooming everywhere.
Pretty sure flowers in the windows to show where CS Lewis lived didn't exist while he was there. But, it works for me!
A stunning view.
I've read it was here CS Lewis finally believed in God.

"You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet...I gave in and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England."

Always my favorite author.
I'm spending a year with him through the pages of A Year with CS Lewis. A devotional I have started in this new year. He was a genius writer. Oh to emulate him. I know. I know. I'm dreaming! 


Monday, January 6, 2020

Cemeteries

Before leaving on holiday, I found a self guided walking tour naming the locations CS Lewis would have been familiar. We walked for hours. Thank goodness we had lovely weather. 

On Mansfield Road, we found this home. It is where CS Lewis spent his first night in Oxford way back in 1916.

We came to a crossroad. Realized this is the road our bed and breakfast is on. Holywell Street. Clicked a few photos from a different perspective. I do believe Holywell Street is one of the most lovely streets in all of Oxford.

Call me weird, but cemeteries are fascinating. So many stories between the dash on those markers. This one was part of the tour. A few of Lewis' circle of friends are buried in this perish cemetery.

Hugo Dyson. A fellow Inkling. He died in 1975.
Austin Farrer. An Anglican philosopher, theologian, and biblical scholar. He was a close friend of CS Lewis. Austin went to CS Lewis and gave him last sacraments before his death. Austin died in 1968.
Charles Williams. Another fellow Inkling who passed in 1945.

This is the grave of Kenneth Grahame.

Any guesses what he wrote? A few clues:

Toad
Mr Badger
Mole

Why yes, it's the classic tale of  The Wind in the Willows.

Cemeteries to me are a walk through history. It can be where ideas are formed.

Did you know Dickens was out one evening strolling through a cemetery. It was there he found the name Ebenezer Scroggie carved on a marker. Hence, A Christmas Carol is born.





      

Monday, December 2, 2019

Blackwell's

Blackwell's. Basically book heaven.
I have arrived.
The famous bookstore in Oxford.
I'm here. I'm really here.

What's Blackwell's, you ask?
I won't judge you for not knowing. I really won't.
Here's a description.
Now you know.
The place is massive. Books everywhere.
I had researched the bookstore before leaving home. I was greatly looking forward to visiting.

I dreamed a terrible dream some weeks before our holiday. I dreamed I had walked up to the front door of Blackwell's only to find it closed for renovations. I woke up in a cold sweat. Ran for my computer and looked up the website to be sure the dates we were in Oxford coincided with Blackwell's hours. Whew! It was only a dream. A nightmare for sure.

By far, Blackwell's is the best bookshop in all the world. Floors and floors of books.

My hubby knows me. I was going to be here awhile. He spent a bit of time with me and then decided to go back to the bed and breakfast. "Take your time," he said.

"You do realize I could be here for hours," I replied.

"I know." He winked at me and left me to my books.

Hours later, I made my way back to the bed and breakfast. Empty handed.

My hubby was shocked. "Didn't you buy anything?"

"A lot," I answered.

"Where's the bag of goods?"

"Wouldn't fit in my luggage so I had to have it all shipped home."

Bug eyed hubby replied, "You're kidding, right?"

I grinned. "Nope."

His eyes became dollar signs!

And sure enough, a week or so after returning from our holiday, the treasured box arrived. I got to relive Blackwell's all over again. And hubby got to pay the bill! 









Thursday, November 21, 2019

Hiking and Fresh Air

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do. Especially when it's somewhere I've never been before. While on holiday in New England, we found aha moments every day. It was glorious.

We found a Tram in the state park and said, "Why not!"

Off we rode, all the way to the top. I bet the skiing out here is incredible.
The leaves weren't quite to peak, but the view was still pretty epic.
"If you love someone tell them. Most importantly stay close to your friends. Let it make a difference in your day and theirs."-Jerry Warlop

Inspiration is everywhere. Even on a hike.
We hiked up here for hours.
The fresh air alone was worth every step.
On our way up, the tram operator made us think. All of us.
He said, "Lets play a game."
He proceeded to ask us which states had the same letter of the alphabet as its capitol?

I think I remember him saying there are four.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Honolulu, Hawaii

Hmmmm....I think I need to google this!!  Can you do it without looking?
It was actually a fun little brain exercise.

At the bottom of the tram was the ski museum.
Ever heard of Bode Miller?
Some skier! Pretty well known in these parts.
Obviously he's pretty awesome.
Skiing. He does it well.

Made me think of that saying...
"You can do anything, but not everything."

Pick one thing. One thing. And do it well.
Bode's just happens to be skiing. He does it, and he does it well.

What do you do well?