Monday 3 December 2012

Familiar view with frost

The photo wasn't tweaked. These are the colours of our odd, muted, fluctuating climate on a suddenly much colder, frosty Saturday morning: along with frosted silver-white, the blue, the green, the black polished by low, bright, icy light.

Home last night from more than a week in Cambridge. I've been too rocky in recent months to deal with travel, clinging for dear life to things close to home, even as they hem me in. Still couldn't deal with the idea of anywhere new, so removing myself the short distance to a city that warms me always and where my old college provides a comfortable room to alumnae at not too extortionate cost seemed ideal. Something in this city is always vivid and embracing, for all it's ever-growing tourist hordes and commercialism and it's dreadful traffic. Almost nothing, on a conscious level, feels the same as when I lived there as a student so very long ago. Much has really changed - it was a quiet and isolated place then. And the things that haven't changed - the historic buildings and gentle views of grass and trees and water - are so much more to me now, emotionally and aesthetically, than they could be then. But there's a subliminal familiarity that means a lot in a life with too little inner sense of home.

This was a good time, in a low-key sort of way. No writing done. A little work. A little reading. A lot of walking. And even when I feel pretty numb, it seems, photos can be taken - an eye that continues to notice and respond and tell me something is alive in there. A strange time. A plumbing of depths, perhaps. Back in London, something, anyway, feels different.


marja-leena said...

Just seeing a bright blue sky is cheering this time of year, in our similar climates of endless rain. The added frost is lovely.

Sounds like the time away was worthwhile, in a quiet kind of way. I'm glad for you, Jean.

Vivien said...

Yes, some time away does one such a lot of good. I used to go for day trips to Cambridge with my parents in the 60s, and remember with affection the Copper Kettle cafe opposite Kings, with white tablecloths and soft-spoken rather elderly waitresses (that's my memory, anyway). Went there about two years ago but it's become a very ordinary Greek or Italian cafe. A pity that these individual places go - so many have gone in Oxford. Glad you feel better after a break.