It’s mid morning. Instead of that golden slanted sunlight that is my favorite this time of day, I'm sitting in the glow of soft lamplight because the sun decided not to come out today. The thought is silly of course; the sun does not choose whether or not to burn in the sky. It's this land, this little Ancient Island that covers itself against the cleansing rays. I think that's the secret.
Magic is best felt at night, most especially at twilight. Miami has a special magic, a spark, an electricity, a glittering moment. It’s a lot of things, but the essence is ephemeral. A transient moment that slips by in an instant but feels like it will never end. The feeling as if tonight is all we have and not caring a bit.
Oxford magic is different. It’s not flashy and continually new. It is older, thicker. I contemplated it as a cycled under the sky and stars and street lamps. There is a magic here unlike the one I've always known. You feel it thick as fog as you cut through it.
It is ancient, dense and reeks of poetry as you breathe it in and the words dance around your brain. While Miami is ephemeral, sparkling and always new, this place is made up of the residue of the ages, left behind like smudges of ink. A few lines of verse tickling your ears, wisps of unfinished equations getting caught in your hair, unpainted pictures stretching themselves down side streets. Time folded in on itself. You feel as if any moment you might turn a corner and slip into another era. It might be hard to tell. Corsets and bustles may be replaced with tights and wellies but the tweed and the robes will always be the same.
Sometimes, especially around the older churches, I feel like I am the one bleeding out of time.
I am the misplaced ghost trespassing, pressing against a veil impossibly thin and impenetrable. I am going to miss this magic. I cannot pay the price to keep it; cold dark winters that last half the year. Thousands of miles between me and family, a marked absence of sunlight. It would be wonderful to raise children here, to read them all the books inspired by the magic. But the price is too high.
I have a feeling I'll be taking some of the old magic with me. It will stow away at the back of my mind. It will have no place in such a young and unmysterious place like Miami, but it will creep out anyhow. I'll find myself by lamplight once more, writing fairy stories with a quill pen on paper I probably made myself. My children will have strange names and I will fill their heads with tales of ancient cities and rolling green moors. Tea will always be a ritual and long dead authors will always be old friends. Victorian needlework will be an ordinary activity and English savory pies will be on the menu often. I'll never escape the residue of the ages. None of us who spend enough time here ever will. I have seen Old Things and I never wish to forget.