I spent yesterday wandering about Oxford.
It was gloomy and grey. But I needed it.
‘It’ being a day out doing self-gratifying things. Hahaha feels so weird writing that, but it’s the truth.
Maybe the rain will help wash it out, wash it away.
Breakfast at Georgina’s Café – a hidden café on the first floor of Oxford’s Covered Market. The shop front on the ground floor looks typically deli-style, nothing out of ordinary.
Until you see the myriad of colours stretching across the walls of the stairway leading up to it. Vintage movie posters layered on the ceiling. And the general character of the place.
First time I tried visiting about a year ago, it was too crowded for us to try it out. But today, the early bird catches the worm 😉
Nothing much, just a latte and some scrambled eggs on granary toast, with some smoked salmon because today was about my wants. Lol I sound like some self-centred idiot today.
Quite a spot of reading. One of the 2 short books being ‘Leave – stories from a restless heart’ by Micah J Murray (find it here on Noisetrade Books).
Leave is a short collection of stories and poems once scattered on now-abandoned corners of the internet between the fall of 2006 and the summer of 2007. That was worlds ago. But some days, when I’m quiet enough to listen, I can still hear these words whispering in my heart. (Micah’s introduction)
“If a story isn’t honest, I get bored with it. These fragments from Micah are true, marked with that sweet sadness before experience teaches you more than your soul can carry without breaking. I wasn’t bored.” – Hännah Ettinger (one of the editorial reviews)
Another one that resonated with me so much I was smiling and shaking my head to myself in a quiet corner of the café. I remember thinking: this is how I want to write.
How he yearns for something deeper. The dissatisfaction of how his faith ebbs and fades. How he desires a deeper love. A faith so real that you stand amazed in an all-consuming awe.
How he aches and bleeds for more. That he thirsts.
And it always helps when a writer goes “All the coffee in the world can’t fill the emptiness inside. […] It still aches.”
Stop reading my mind.
How he wrote: “If I wait I will be found by Him.”
The whispers of a promise from long ago. No, it still stands. His promises never fail.
Wait. The words from the past were ‘I will be found by you.”
Is this how it’s meant to be? Encircling, chasing, a pursuit.
Is it meant to be this hard?
This internal tugging. I feel it. So tangible.
I feel like my writing is betraying how my heart, soul and mind have been in a state of confusion recently.
But that’s writing, isn’t it?
How he sees the beauty in his surroundings.
How he recognizes it’s not a short trip, but a pilgrimage.
Wrote this a couple of months ago: I am but a tourist – transcient, fleeting. No, I am a traveler – voyaging into, crossing into new realms, eternal.
How he talks about walls we built inside.
The moment I feel like he walked into my heart and described what he saw.
(I really hope he doesn’t mind that I’m just going to share that specific piece here.)
How he acknowledges that the journey gets tiring, that it gets lonesome. But sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and believe that the next step… yes, the next step will be on solid ground.
It’s a process, isn’t it? Dips and troughs, highs and lows, peaks and dips.
I yearn for a steadfast faith. A stable undercurrent, a loud roar.
Not this fleetingness that threatens to slip through my fingers.
There’s hope, there’s more. The promise is unwavering; it is truth.
There is a solid foundation. And He is mine. Just as I am His.
City centre wanderings in the rain. Told you it was gloomy.
Spent hours trawling through Waterstones and Blackwell’s Books trying to find a bit of inspiration. Literally shelf after shelf. Leafing through classics, short stories, academic books, popular fiction… finally settled on a couple from the General Philosophy section. Hopefully some new ideas will spring forth from there.
Mortons for a sandwich break and more reading whilst looking out over the busy streets of Oxford.
Thankfully, rain cleared up and the sun came out for a bit.
Christ Church Meadows. Beautiful.
The fragrance of the lavender lining the path leading into the grounds.
Walking by the River Thames and the River Cherwell.
Gravel and rocks crunching beneath my feet.
Punters, joggers, families, tourists, students, couples, hen parties, stag dos… the list goes on.
I love the little boats moored along the river.
People living on boats.
The feeling of solid ground now and again must be a novel delight.
Delight. I assume.
Living on a boat.
Must feel like you’re constantly being lulled into a state of bliss and rest.
There was a time when I thought living on a boat would be ace.
Walking is a constant state of processing.
My thoughts balloon and expand.
Yet at the same time, I diminish.
I fade into a flesh-and-bones construct ambulating on my two legs.
Just another walker.
The sense of self blends into the natural landscape.
Back to basics; back to nature.
There is no meter, no gauge.
Just the vast expanse of the sky. There is freedom.
The acres and acres of meadow. There is no end.
The crunching beneath my feet. I’m on solid ground.
Yet the sense of guilt creeps up like a shadow.
The pace quickens.
For a moment, I entertain the irrational notion that I can outpace my guilt.
But for an hour,
I left it in the air, in the warmth of the sun, in the rustling trees, in the river.
And for an hour,
it was perfection.
Sometimes the best walking companions are your thoughts.