My room is settled. The jetlag has (mostly) faded. And the splendor of this old, dear city settles around me, drapes itself over my shoulders like a good old coat that fits my odd knobs and soul bones and wraps me in familiar warmth. Adventures are never without trepidation, something I’ll be writing about in the next few days. New seasons seem to turn on an axis of anxiety at times. But for me, this time round, leaving home means a kind of coming back home to a place that I have known. More, a city that has known me and rooted me in joy.
Having a sister to greet me who lives just down the staircase helps too.
I think I am in for an excellent course. The conversations I’ve had thus far have been a lively mix of background stories and spiritual wonderings. There’s vivid life and swift friendship coursing through a place when every person has arrived on the doorstep by the long way of soul-deep questions. It’s a cut-to-the-chase kind of world, and I like that. I had an immensely entertaining and informative conversation with the dean (well, actually the principal, but the American equivalent is the dean) on the problem of evil. Tolkien came up. As did the Lindisfarne Gospels. You see? How can I not have fun?
And that’s not even mentioning the coffee shop deep in the stone roots of University Church, or the tousled meadow that lies a ten minute walk out my door, or the dubious joys of punting (this is not my area of giftedness), or the quickened wind breathing in my window every morning. More soon. Because there is so much to see, and tell, and to write is my way of “pondering these things.” But dusk is coming and I want my Port Meadow ramble. So over and out for now from Oxford. And a beautiful Saturday to you all.
Sarah Clarkson is an author, blogger, and student of theology at the University of Oxford. She loves books, beauty, and imagination and wants everyone else to understand why they should too. She is the author of Read for the Heart (a guide to children’s literature) and Caught Up in a Story, an exploration of the way that narrative and imagination form a child’s sense of self. She wrote The Lifegiving Home with her mother, Sally Clarkson, and blogs about home, books, Oxford, and beauty at thoroughlyalive.com. When not chasing doctrinal mysteries down in the Bodleian, walking the meadows, or drinking another good cup of coffee, Sarah can be found at home with a good novel in the red-doored English house she shares with her husband, Thomas.