Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day Four: Gardens at Oxford

It has been said that nothing compares to an English garden.  During my short time in England, I have found this to be very true.

Being my birthday today, I took just a little time out to go for a longish run to explore the nearby University park.  There are paved and gravel paths that wind through it, ponds, trees from all over the world, and functional areas for playing sport (the English leave off the "s" in sports).  I provide a link to a map of this park here: http://www.parks.ox.ac.uk/

The previous days had been quite wet, but today was brilliant.  Yet as the ground and water were warmer than the air (is that how it works?), there were mists that rose off of both in the shimmering sunlight.  I started at LMH by "Lazenbee's Ground" ran around the pond, down the river by Picked Mead, over the High Bridge and past fields along a wooded lane.  The lane wound around, and suddenly I was running alongside fenced sport fields on one side, and a pasture for cows on the other.  I had to stop at a wooden gate on which was written "please close gate, cows in the field" written in what looked like red crayon, and carefully open and close it before hurrying on to what looked like an old schoolhouse.  I finally turned around and witnessed the same beautiful scenery on my journey homeward.

I wonder if the beauty of English parks and gardens comes from the approach.  They seemed designed to give pleasure to the eye, with just the right amount of symmetry and asymmetry, color, vista, and enclosed space.  Whatever the secret, the English have figured it out.

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