Sometimes when I go out into this city and walk the ancient lanes shaded by majestic structures with their “dreaming spires”, I see them tall upon the earth, each a monument to its era, each a speaking statue. I hear them saying, “We too loved learning. We too deemed churches and libraries most worthy of embellishment and of what dignity men’s minds and hands could impart.”
Poets and novelists and astronomers and kings walked these lanes before me, philosophers and statesmen argued under that lamppost. I look at what they saw from the vantage point of knowing what they went on to do with the dreams they dreamt here.
I wander and I look and I think Oxford is unlike any other place on earth. It is ancient and it houses what is new in print and research and ideas. It is crowded and global and tiny and local. (The England of the English is a sort of host culture for this multicultural hodgepodge of peoples with their languages, foods, and fashions. And like all excellent hosts, it sets a tone but does not dominate the conversation.)
It’s a sort of Camelot for learners, this city. Oh how I love it.