Saturday, May 2, 2009

puppy hugs (seriously)






















Enough bad things have been happening on campus lately that I thought it'd be good to sound an upbeat note from The World Beyond:

May Day is a really big deal at Oxford (where I'm studying (I'm ND '08)). Pubs, which normally close between 11.30 and 1, are open till 6am, and breakfast places open when the pubs are closing; but no one goes to eat right away because the Magdalen College Choir sings at sunrise from the top of their tower to the thousand or so people gathered below .. the crowd stretches from both banks of the Cherwell well down into the Botanic Garden.

But honestly, today was even better than yesterday. The weather was perfect for a long hike, so I took the opportunity to explore the meadows East and North of the University Parks. Oxford is unique and amazing for a host of reasons, but one of the simple ones is that it has pretty much the perfect balance of old-European-city and lovely-peaceful-countryside nestled side by side. I got a bit lost, wound up going much further than planned (to Wolfson College, which turned out to be hospitable to strangers), but that just made it better. Everyone was outside, from drunken punters to cute old couples.

The highlight of the day was coming across an elderly but vigorous English gentleman who was taking his pup for a walk. We were in the middle of a ten-acre meadow with no other souls in sight (though plenty of birds and ducks could be heard nearby), and the little guy - I thought he was a terrier at first - came bounding up to me. Not content to lick me and be petted, he went so far as to literally give me a hug with his forelegs. Speaking in the Queen's English with the pacing of an Ent, the gent informed me that his miniature schnauzer was pleased to make my acquaintance. I didn't take a picture, but he was even more handsome than the pup I'm including.

The moral of the story?
Spring is coming; and true hope springs eternal.

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