In November of 2013 I journeyed to the United Kingdom, a frequent stop on my professional adventures, one that has brought familiarity and dear friendships, On this trip, I met up with a friend who drove us to Oxford, England to The Eagle and Child. This pub was a favorite of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien, two of my literary heroes. It has been on my bucket list for a long time.
The quote on the beam above a portion of the pub said something about Lewis that you won’t find very many places. “My favorite hours are spent with 3 or 4 old friends in old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs.”
Visiting the place was as ordinary as crossing the street. I think the people in the U.K. take for granted the sense of history, but they probably think Americans should stop guffawing at this stuff.
While sharing a sandwich and a pint, I said to my friend, “those candles must represent each of the inkling authors.” He said in response, “I think you are looking for meaning that isn’t there.”
It’s true. I may look for too much meaning, but then I think Tolkien and Lewis toasted us from heaven with a clank of tankards and hardy laugh from the cackling cloud. Isn’t that what poets and writers and dreamer geeks do at times, look for meaning that may not be there for the enjoyment of sighted symbol one could turn into words. I got joy from simply imaging it. A toast, to the ephemeral, wonder of stories we create for ourselves.
Photos courtesy of Jason Lamar