Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Footsteps of the Past

One of the hardest concepts to absorb during this trip is that a lot of the places we have visited were in habited by the authors we love. Our time in the Lake District has certainly exemplified that since we have visited the Brontes, William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, and Arthur Ransome’s old stomping grounds. Visiting the homes of the first three listed there was especially intriguing. Admittedly you are never quite walking the same floors or the same paths as them since the floors have been refurbished over time and the ground has certainly eroded and changed over time. But you can’t help but go numb when you hear the words, “Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson walked here.”

I certainly don’t feel that the creative abilities of these authors have soaked into my skin as I have looked at their letters, run my fingers over their furniture or sat in their chairs. But it is amazing how much work has gone into preserving their heritages, and the diverse range of individuals who make pilgrimages to their homes. I think it truly puts into perspective how powerful beautiful writing can be and the impact it can have on the world for generations to come.

The Lake District has also been the intermission in our trip between the cities that bookend our studies. We did our time in Oxford and we will be in London on Saturday and spend the last two weeks there. There are definitely some perks to returning to the city—regular wi-fi access, individual rooms, easier access to grocery stores. But I think I will quickly begin to wish I was back here where you are surrounded by beautiful hills, gorgeous lakes, and you are serenaded to sleep by the quiet baaing of the sheep outside your window.

Tomorrow we will retrace the boundaries of the Roman Empire and go visit Hadrian’s Wall. As a soon to be full-time English teacher, there is some irony that this was the year I went back to Rome, and now will see Emperor Hadrian’s Wall for the first time.

A quick look at the sites from open two-story buses and walks along the hills:

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