Afternoon breathing.

In the cool afternoon, I left my writing behind and walked to town. My visiting friend was at the library, seeing Prince Charles during his visit to the university and then doing some research, and I had already produced enough words to call it a day if I so desired. And so I laced my shoes and set out to stretch my legs and catch some deep breaths.

Clare College's old court was so silent and still that I thought about staying there. Instead I strode on through the gates and nearly missed the lavender that has begun to bloom along the outermost walk. But the lavender caught me just in time.

I went lightly through the marketplace, pausing over the bookseller's stalls and the jeweler's strings of beads and stones. I slipped into the chemist's for a better decongestant than the one I've been using to try and clear out my mucky head. I dawdled around the shelves in the big bookshop closest to home.

Going up the Avenue at Trinity, having checked on the growing goslings and about to be on the lookout for the moorchicks in the sluice, I saw for the first time how the backs of the daisies make their own fat flows of circles, row after row of fringey spots on stems. There were no signs of the moorchicks: no ripples, no feathery swim, no soft cry the sound of a tired wheel's turning.