Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Sun Shines on Oxford

Charlie's walk, the final ritual that I've done every morning for the last 10 months. The streets are bit different at 4 a.m. A man I recognize as a homeless Big Issue seller from St. Giles bicycles past on the Woodstock Road, followed 20 yards behind by his dog, trotting to keep up. Perhaps they do this every morning.

Charlie and I walk around the basketball courts near the radio station, go past the playground then turn at the grass tennis courts to make our daily loop. A top window is open in the old folks' home, as it always is. I've heard that the lady inside throws meat to the foxes. I've never seen anyone at the window and I don't this morning.

Behind the tennis courts and behind the back gardens of Osberton Road. The bell in the chapel tower of St. Edwards School chimes 4:30. Charlie and I turn east through the tennis court parking lot. And there, over the chimney pots of North Oxford, is something I haven't seen in my 10 months here: a sunrise. Partly-cloudy ones are the best, the sun painting the grayish clouds in hues of bright pink and tangerine.

I've forgotten my camera this morning, so I can't take a picture. But you can't capture a sunrise in a photograph. You can't capture a city in a blog, either. Thanks for watching me try. The next sunrise I see will be in Washington. I promise to blog there, too, and I hope you'll join me.

12 comments:

Jo said...

You'll both be missed, but I'll let you make me aware of DC (a place I've never lived) as you made me aware of Oxford (a place I'd just moved to). Happy trails.

wiredog said...

Welcome home!

Josh Braun said...

To turn up an old trite-ism, Oxford's loss is Washington's gain.

Just out of curiosity, does Charlie's name have anything to do with SeƱor Steinbeck's choice of canine monikers?

Richard said...

The sun that sets on Oxford now rises in Washington DC. You leave the land of snaggle-toothed plumbing and drafty beer, and return to the land of the free, bursting with furnaces not boilers, a confidence in the value of will of the people and an unfathomable desire to spell words without the letter "U". You will be missed, and not in the sense of people throwing things at you. But my children will most of all miss.... Charlie.

Richard

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Of course we will - looking forward to hearing how this area appears to someone who has been away for a year...I remember, after we returned from a year's sojourn about 4 years ago now, I just kept saying, "Look at all the cars!" every time we went out.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling all sorts of verklempt now. I'll miss your take on merry ol' England.

Welcome home!

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Your return to America may not be quite like re-entry from space. But all the same you are bound to see things differently. Smooth landing.
When I returned from England in the 1970s I could not but be reminded that lockers were not available at Victoria Station (because of the Troubles). Much has changed of course since then. One other thing: English coins are (or were) weightier than American ones.

mark from alexandria said...

The year really flew by. I'll look forward to your new international perspective on our little metropolis by the Potomac.

Dee Jackson said...

John! please let us know that Charlie makes the trip back over the Pond safely...All the very best - we'll miss your insights! Dominique

Adrian Monck said...

Good luck back in DC.

Anonymous said...

bye john.keep up the drums, give up the day job. and hey, let's not forget the lovely wife ( and daughters ).

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