Then, this morning, the same group of us ventured to Christ's College to spend some time in the Fellows' Garden, home of Milton's Mulberry Tree. The garden was still and beautiful, so after roaming around and taking pictures for a bit, we each found a spot to sit and read or write. I spent some time journaling and praying and just enjoying the beauty of the place. It was definitely the coolest spot I've been all day - I know there's been a heat wave in the States, but it's been VERY unseasonably warm here too...upper 80's, which for the Brits is unbearable!
Then, this afternoon, I visited the Round Church, which dates back to 1130 and enjoyed a fantastic exhibit on church history in Cambridge from Rome to today. It explained how the universities of Cambridge spun out of centers of monastic learning and explained how Cambridge students were influential in the Reformation. It also described the tension between science and faith, noting that neither Issac Newton nor the early founders of the famous Cavendish Laboratory considered this to be a problem.
Finally, I wandered back to Magdalene College, which I'd learned since my last visit was home to C.S. Lewis during his years in Cambridge. It's interesting to think as I visit all of these places dear to famous people - Byron's pool, Milton's garden, Lewis' college - about what it is that draws us to places like this, why we go to great lengths to see them. At first glance, it seems like some sort of a pilgrimage, a ground hallowed by the geniuses that have walked there. But the places themselves, though beautiful, are not necessarily any more amazing than places I've seen in Fairfax - secluded, natural, calm, but not particularly awe-inspiring. But perhaps that's part of the appeal - to see that famous people were inspired by places much like our own favorites, that they really are rather human after all.