This winter has been so cold and humid in Oxford that I’ve been feeling geographically troubled. I’m spoiled on the evergreen forests and mountains of the west coast of Canada, while here I’m surrounded by mostly flat land and bare trees.
Before the University of Oxford ever existed, there was a monastery here, and in fact the very first faculty of the university was the school of divinity. The monks who founded the very first settlement chose this spot for its marshy and gloomy character since they figured suffering was one of the best things if you want to get closer to God.
More often than not, I’m reminded of the movie Shanghai Knights in the finale scene…
in which Owen Wilson yells: “Roy O’Bannon will not go quietly. You hear that, England? Throw whatever you want at me! Your terrible weather! Your perverted killers! Your Spotted Dick!”
I hope my English readers will forgive me this mockery… I do love other parts of England such as Cornwall and the Lake District as they have the mountainous landscape I require. But Oxford really needs to get with the program.
I can’t wait for spring, when it will look like this again:
Oxford is quite small, and it doesn’t take long to go beyond city limits to find natural spots that may not be as grandiose as the Rocky Mountains but are stunningly beautiful, like these bluebell woods. Some of the college grounds too are like miniature parks, such as Worcester College pictured with the lake and the swan above.
All I have to do is get through February.