When I lived in New York I used to make fun of Neal for thinking his road was busy. He also claimed that our little New England town suffers from insufferable traffic jams in the evening. Now that I live here in our wooded haven, I have to agree, at least about the busy-ness of the road. He's planted over 200 little trees this year in an effort to one day block the sound of passing cars. Now and then, though, no cars pass for a while and all I can hear is birds chirping and breezes in the mature oaks that ring the yard. Just now I heard church bells from town.
I love the sound of bells ringing. They remind me of the summer I spent at St. John's College in the city of dreaming spires. That summer was the first time I had ever lived alone, the longest time I'd ever spent away from my then-husband. It was liberating for me to realize that I enjoyed my own company quite a bit, that I didn't at all mind eating alone in a restuarant or seeing a play by myself. I was 30 that year, older than most of the other students, and I soaked in everything I could. I felt more at home there than I had before or have since. If I had the means, Oxford would be my permanent home. The president of the college, at a dinner one night, shared that he had only spent four weeks away from Oxford in his life, and I can understand that.
One of the most magical things to me was to work at my desk in my little cozy room, a half-pint of warmish Guinness from the college pub at the ready for sipping, and the sounds of the many bells ringing out, some near, some far.