The wind here blows down from Scandinavia, skims across the North Sea, and smacks East Anglia like the backswing on a hinged door. Thank goodness the buildings in Cambridge are grouted leviathans, capable of withstanding centuries of wet wind. But this morning there wasn’t even a light breeze. I was glad not to hear the tree rustling outside my window, because I knew my bike ride would no longer be a head-down slam fest.
Instead, I was blown over by domestic tranquility. I pedaled early this Saturday, and as I made my way to the village of Bourn, the wholesomeness of country life beamed from every tiny cottage window. Nothing seemed unworthy of notice: five-to-a-stalk chimney pots; thatched roofs leaning over the road like bulbous mushrooms; roses blooming—in October!—beside front doors; and, dear god help me now, wood smoke drifting through each town green.
I imagined myself living in this settled environment—where quietness is water reflecting a stone bridge. As an itinerant graduate student, though, I can merely ogle. After puttering around Bourn’s medieval church (crooked tower, tilted headstones), I pedaled home. Back to my world of books—for books will be my brooks.
Reader’s Note: Every day for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be presenting new entries from “Along the River Cam.” Check here for the latest post.
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