I mentioned to Alexander the other day that weather like this makes me feel academic.
I was sitting the other night in my study, with the door facing out onto the sunken patio open to the early autumn breeze, cooled by a lightly falling rain. I sat at my desk, resisting the temptation to turn on the desk lamp, holding off until the very last bit of natural light faded into the clouds.
It’s a false memory moments like these recall. I think back on brick-laid courtyards beneath grey-stoned buildings. Arched, leaded windows illuminating cold, dusty libraries. Dry leaves strewn about the walkways trod by young men in corduroys and tweed, sweater-vests and neckties. Stern professors of Latin and Greek, mathematics and philosophy. An eternal New England autumn.
Clearly, at some point, I missed the memo that ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ and ‘A Separate Peace’ are works of fiction. That I did not, myself, ever attend anything even remotely resembling the Oxfordian paradise of my daydreams. Alas.
One of my favorite lines in ‘The History Boys’ is from Hector, the English Master:
“Cloisters, ancient libraries… I was confusing learning with the smell of cold stone. If I had gone to Oxford I’d probably never have worked out the difference.”