Sunday, August 08, 2010
Walking in England
There are many things to love about English life. I have been here for just nearly five weeks and my time to depart draws nigh. I could list many things I have enjoyed but will list here only one simple thing – walking. The weather is conducive to pedestrian traffic, there are sidewalks capable of handling pedestrian traffic, and vehicular traffic “give way” (at least in all my experience!) to pedestrians. And, what is more – pedestrian traffic is encouraged cross country.
When I lived in Manchester a few years back working on my dissertation, I had time to walk portions (but not anything close to all!) of the Transpennine Trail. This trail allows individuals to walk from East or West Coast to the other side of this large island – across public and private lands.
Just outside the Yarnton Manor, which houses the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Study where I have spent many days, is the Shakespeare trail.
I love the simple but “maze-like” way that the trail allows access over the fence – and through what appears to me to be the private field of someone who lives in Yarnton. I have gone out on several days and strolled across this field and a few others in the afternoon while in Yarnton. I cannot express simply – how personally and existentially refreshing it is for me to be able to go out for a walk, in the city or outside the city – in the cool of the day – by-passing others or walking alone on a dirt trail. Ahh. I love being able to go for a stroll. I will miss these walks desperately as I return to Oklahoma.
Someday I will live in a place where pedestrian traffic is encouraged – and perhaps – as well – where cycling trails are part of the culture! Someday!