Well I've gotten to the part of the year that I've been really dreading: that miserable turn from 'the holiday season' into 'regular dreary old winter.' Early January was also the time when I arrived in Oxford when I studied abroad here as an undergrad, and my memories of the climate are... not fond. As in, I remember getting to March, coming back to Aiken to visit Ringo and Kiki, and realizing that it felt like it had been a full three months since I'd last seen the sun.
Touch wood, but so far this winter hasn't seemed nearly so bad. I think I have to credit having a nice, bitterly cold winter in New England last year for toughening me up significantly. When I got here in 2011 it was straight from California 'winter,' which would obviously make pretty much anything else seem hellish in comparison. Thinking back to this time last year, though, when Pa and I were doing morning feed with headlamps on and I could barely muck out in the mornings because the stalls were a block of frozen poo balls, and dang! England don't seem too shabby at all.
We did have a ton of rain right as I was coming back, meaning that everything has been sodden and flooded for the past week, but the sun has been out pretty much every day. Hooray! Keep up the good work, weather!
To celebrate this auspicious turn of events, I popped Marcel out for a quick ride a few days ago right as the sun was setting. It was a very quick ride, as I'd been out rowing that morning and because a lot of roads around Oxford are still flooded meaning that I wasn't super confident on my route, but gosh it was nice to get out on the road again. I'm really loving rowing, but there's something about that nice fleeing of flowing along the road on the bike (and actually feeling like you're going fast!) that rowing just doesn't have for me yet.
Cruising on the bike is as close as I can get to that most beloved feeling of all of just getting in two-point, bridging my reins, and going for a good gallop. And the end result is pretty much the same: even though I'd been back in Oxford, going on that ride was the first time I really felt like I took a deep breath, relaxed, and took a moment to remind myself of what a wonderful place I'm in. Remind me of this feeling in a few weeks when I'll be buried in work and exuding stress from every pore!!