Tuesday, 4 November 2008


The autumn sunshine didn't last long, and November is currently reminding me of a different Hopkins poem, 'Inversnaid':

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet!

The best thing about wet and wildness in Oxford is that Christ Church meadow is deserted - other people not appreciating walks in the pouring rain as much as I do. I take any chance I can get to walk in the rain, though I don't tend to tell people this, because they think it's a little crazy. The river's now fuller than in this picture and the fallen leaves are considerably more damp, but nothing beats a walk with rain dripping from the trees, freshness in the air, bells in the distance, and not another person in sight.

This is 4th week of term, but '5th week blues' have hit early. That's the other kind of blue we have here, apart from the sporting kind - it's a technical expression describing that point in term where you can't believe a whole month has already gone by, but it's still a bit too early for the end to be in sight. This might be an undergraduate thing; I suppose post-grads, with our longer terms, should have a different expression, or suffer a different process, or something. Anyway, it's one of the things I've carried over from being an undergrad, and my current thoughts are therefore along these lines:

- where did the past four weeks go?
- I've achieved nothing in that time
- November = nearly Christmas = academic decision-time about next year. Eek.

Never mind. Since 'Oxford Christmas' comes in 8th week - that's when the carol services and Christmas dinners are - the beginning of November is kind of 'Oxford Advent', and Advent is an excellent season in its own right. As we sing during real Advent:

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum
"Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness."

A different kind of rain.