From the moment we landed in Great Britain it was my benefit to be in the company of two very smart women. Sue is a great organizer and her daughter Sarah is a pragmatic person and now experienced in the ways of life in England given her four-month study in Oxford.
Between the two of them, there were very few stressful moments here. Occasionally we’d run up against a train schedule versus a show across town. Other than that, navigating the Tube was simple with both of them to figure out where we were and where we were headed.
It helps that the Tube or Underground is a clean, modern, well-maintained public transit system. Same goes for the National Railway, which we rode out to Bath through an English countryside that looked marvelous even at 110 mph. That speed doesn’t look that fast when you’re moving. But when you’re stopped and another train whooshes past and is gone in a flash, the effect is impressive.
Even at that pace it was possible for me to study birds like the red kite (a species of raptor) floating up thermals on the English hillside. And the nice thing about taking the train is that it allows time for personal and collaborative contemplation. All of us had reason for consideration. Sarah had reason to review an amazing four months in Oxford. Sue was musing over a well-earned break from project management.
I was thinking about all sorts of stuff, including the state of my body and mind and how finally getting away on vacation was a wonderful thing after many years.
There were spiritual consideration as well. These met with a perfect expression at Bath Abbey, a towering chapel rebuilt many times over the last 1000 years. Alongside the main chapel there was a series of diptych paintings and weavings by Sue Symons. These were so wonderfully conceived and executed, and followed the entire life of Christ from start to finish. The creative, emotive work in each square inch of these portrayals was a miracle unto itself. By the time we reached the final pair my eyes were filled with tears.
You can tell when it’s time to go home. This morning Sue and I went for a short run along the Thames and she did a few quick one-minute repeats in advance of her half-marathon on Saturday. Sarah swung back across town from an overnight with some of her college buds who were still in town. Thus we wrapped up a smart trip made wonderful and easy by the companionship of these two smart women.
God Bless. And see you stateside.