After spending the better part of the morning doing ridiculously boring end-of-the-year administrative stuff at my laptop, I finally trudged into the city centre around 1pm to sell my books to Blackwell's, return library books to Hertford and ISCA, pick up some cardboard boxes and Sharpies, buy bus tickets for my trip to the airport on Tuesday, and (maybe) treat myself to Starbucks on the way back to the Grad Centre to drop everything off before hitting the gym.
That all changed when I ran into Casey and Josh in front of Christ Church not five minutes after leaving my room, and when they invited me to tag along with them to the arboretum, I shrugged and did that instead. And this is how I learned that there are redwoods in Oxford, that it is not all that uncommon to find a peacock in a tree, and that packing an apple when running errands is always a good idea, just in case you unexpectedly end up in a forest twenty minutes outside of Oxford without a chance to pick up a misto and a peach and raspberry muffin. (I also recalled why I like Josh and Casey, to the point that when they suggest that I get on a bus to a village I've never heard of, I'm like, 'meh, okay.') The afternoon made me feel better about reading Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost this past week, because she spends half the essays ruminating on nature and I kept sighing and being like, um, the closest I get to nature nowadays is when the swans on the Isis scream at me and I shout curse words back at them. Sorry, Rebecca, your poetics are kind of lost on me. But then I saw flowers and vistas and redwoods and peacocks and knew beauty, significance, awe, and unadulterated terror, and I understood a little better.