02 June, 2011

{this memory} 2

In its literal content, this photo from Tuesday's post is of the Churchyard of St. Mary Magdalen on Magdalen Street in Oxford, England. You can just make out some tombstones behind the fence, and with the bicycles' presence, it's clear this was an unexpected snow. I see much more. There is for me, of course, a moment.

The memory is of the year my daughter took off from medical school to earn a masters degree in Medical Anthropology from the University of Oxford. During her first semester, I was on sabbatical from my college and arranged to do a portion of my work at Oxford.

I rented a room in a small boarding house not far from where she stayed in Linacre College and soon had a daily routine that involved morning study in the Bodleian Library where I had obtained Reader privileges, lunch somewhere walkable, then an espresso at a favorite haunt, and either an occasional afternoon opportunity to use the Duke Humfrey's Reading Room or perhaps some sightseeing. Many days, of course, involved some time or a meal with my daughter. A look at this image instantly takes me back to a wonderful and unforgettable interlude in my career.

My daughter describes the picture more specifically. She and a friend were members of the Linacre Boat Club, usually rowing eights, and were on their way to practice. The snow was, indeed, unexpected but did not deter them. She loved crew, and she loved Oxford enough to consider leaving medicine behind for a doctorate in anthropology and a career in the academy. She described this particular day as one of her favorites.

Memories of special moments - in spite of the unofficial slogan:

Oxford
Where Your Best
Isn't Good Enough
Since 1088
TGB