5 October 2007

Dreaming spires

Spent yesterday taking 3Kool (elder daughter) back to Oxford, to university. How I envy the students! They are so free (if only they knew it) and with “everything still to play for” as the saying goes.
I didn’t want to leave to come home. Just wanted to soak up the atmosphere and stay there pretending to be a student again. The sun was shining and those old colleges looked wonderful. We walked into the town centre and the shops were so much more interesting than any we can visit from home. There are hundreds of places to eat, so much choice you could spend a year and not visit them all. I saw a house for sale in the student part of town, and found myself wondering how much they want for it.
It’s not often I get that yearning feeling these days.
What was it about the place, the occasion, that affected me in this way?
Would it have been the same if it was raining? Is it the freedom of the student life that I long for? Or the atmosphere of learning for its own sake? Or being surrounded by young people, so I can pretend to be young again myself? Perhaps it was the beautiful old buildings, and the thought of being able to live in one of them and be part of the history of the place. Or the thought of being able to reach all of these things without getting into a car, ever.
But of course I am not young, and the sun doesn’t always shine, and I am not free. If I talk about learning something new, people ask what for; too late to make a new career; silly to spend money on something you’re not going to make good use of. I don’t “travel light” anymore; I have responsibilities and property. And these responsibilities and property are far, far away from ancient places of learning, with no proper bus services and nothing of note within walking distance.

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