I took a train to Cambridge on Friday.
It isn't all that far from me--so nor is it new.
But even now, when I walk its streets, I like to imagine I live and study there. That those vaulted dorms that overlook the Cam are mine--that I can cross the jaunts of that mathematical bridge into Queen's--that I can peruse its envied library stacks. I like to imagine that I can brush shoulders with the academic elite and be so, so enveloped in culture.
It's silly, really. This pretend. Because I know if I had it, I'd soon find its faults. I'd succumb to its vast oppression or its arrogance--the immediate tensions and the creeping flaws I sense each time I visit.
But that isn't to say I don't get a kick out of it--that it doesn't do anything for me. It does: it truly, truly compounds a will to work harder--to study--to involve myself in an academic or artistic passion. But I soon realise that that passion is the important thing. It is the peak and the crescendo and the most sought-after thing. It is not tied to a building, a street, a desk. It is something you can--and do--take anywhere.
I suppose I like Cambridge for that. It sure has a power to provoke my thought. (And gladly, happily, blissfully so).