Five beings met at Oxford

Five beings taken for granted, five beings overlooked in the landscape of our days. 

Books – here they are, in their Bodleian castles of stone and glass, some immured as fair princesses, untouchable for now; some to be beckoned out from behind their battlements at their manors of Blackwell’s and Waterstone’s, agreeing kindly to come to our doorsteps, delivered in their own carriage. No surreptitious rustling through the pages in a shadowy shop corner for now, but a full embrace, meeting the book in private. 

A fox encountered in North Oxford – he walks a steady pace, his fur in red and white as the houses of North Oxford, composed and without fear, amidst a sea of human anxiety. He is free, and in his steps go memories and longing, longing for other things: the run after a morning train, the queue at the airport, the rumble of a Tube line, … 

Meeting the ceanothus – One bush has a dozen faces. There is a William Morris pattern on a redbrick wall in Plantation Road, there is the indigo of its bristling blossoming candles reflected in blue doors in Parks Road, there is the proud guardian of Wolfson’s door, calmly enveloping a dove grey wall. 

A forget-me-not crosses boundary in one of Oxford’s streets – it peeks through a white railing, and happily ignores social distance. 

Ghosts of food trail through the streets, the friendly wraiths. A fragrant bread was freshly baked, someone has just made a curry; here it was a fish coming from the oven moments ago, and, yes, this is a homemade cup of coffee! Many a chorus can float above the city; the bells at Easter, the clapping on Thursday nights, and the scent of sustenance.