While in Oxford, I had the opportunity to get away for a couple of days hike with Peter Hunter OP. We went to the Ridgeway, a trail that runs just outside of Oxfordshire following a chalk ridge through the English countryside. The pastoral scenes along the ridge remind one of the Tolkien's descriptions of the Shire in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Lying between Oxford and London, sandwitched between the intellectual ferment of Oxford and the incredible bustle of London, the trail seems oddly peaceful, like the Shire sandwitched between the warring nations of middle earth. All is calm here, and walking the trail, one has no concerns for what might be going on in the outside world. No cell phones, no newspapers, today we simply worry about where we will stop for lunch, how far to the next pub, and how the harvest is doing in the fields we pass.