News from The Kilns – March 2009
January was certainly a bleak midwinter, with hard frost and bone-chilling cold that transformed the surroundings of the Kilns into Narnia’s winter. While this landscape was very lovely to see through Jack’s bedroom window, even a brief venture out of doors was immediately a reminder of the intense cold, watering the eyes and making our very bones feel brittle. These were the days for sitting by the Aga (a quintessential English kitchen stove) with a bottomless hot beverage, accompanied by captivating books to occupy one’s thoughts or a journal to record experiences of folks changed by Lewis’ words.
January boasted red fox visits and a grand array of English birds and squirrels to the feeders. We also had several American university group tours and ended the month with a daylong seminar for German business students, offering tours, lunch, and an Inklings lecture, followed by a hugely successful writers’ workshop as they composed their own class fairy tale.
With February came a beautiful change: ten days of snow! It was glorious, soft and so very white, with a steady stream of families going to play in the C. S. Lewis Nature Reserve. Children trying to surprise their parents with a good snow ball hit, and dogs pulling sleds. Even the radio announcers mentioned engaging in snowballing with youngsters as they walked to work. There was very little driving (and no trash pick-up) and the vehicles that did venture up Lewis Close all had trouble heading back out. Neighbors were out with shovels and brooms to help move ice and snow. All the tours were delayed as transportation came to a standstill, and one couple journeyed tirelessly from London to Oxford where they purchased boots for the walk up Lewis close. Scholar Diana Glyer’s sabbatical visit also brought Malcolm Guite and Michael Ward for memorable fellowship and inspiring conversation. Diana gave a very well -received lecture for the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society.
March has brought a few small groups, again from American universities, as well as a family from Greece, and a very bright young man with his family from California, who told me about his imaginative writing and drawing. Might we have another good writer in the making? And spring is showing signs of taking over the land; crocuses, daffodils and hyacinths are appearing everywhere you look. Blue skies and big puffy white clouds and trees eager with bud in spite of the brisk cold air-yes, the promise of spring’s longer days and the returning geese have renewed our hope that winter has done its creative work in the soil and in our souls.