The way to Grantchester.

Because my Canadian friend is leaving, we decided to take the afternoon off and take our favorite walk, to Grantchester--a walk we'd somehow never done together. On the way there, she led the way but I found the moorchicks. On the way home, I led the way and we saw cows eating the leaves from low-hanging tree branches.

"So you're not a bait and switch kind of person?" she said, with regards to my love life. "Absolutely not," I replied. This seemed to help explain some things. Other things remain inexplicable.

I confessed my perverse desire to touch a stinging nettle, just to see what it feels like. All she had to say was that the sting comes from an oil in the leaves, and I suddenly no longer had that desire. Anything that even vaguely resembles poison ivy, or works by its mechanisms, is a thing I avoid.

"I remember when I didn't think that you and I would be friends," she said to me as we left our afternoon tea at the Orchard. I remember that, too. I'm glad we were both wrong, though I barely remember what made the difference. I think it was the night in November when she asked me to have a drink with her, after I gave her the copy of Middlemarch I'd gotten for her in the market. She's asked nearly everyone I know some blunt or awkward question or another; I've seen people have to tell her to step off on a number of occasions. But she's also on my list of people I can most easily imagine getting on a plane and coming to help me if I ever need her.

When the big cow broke into a run, we both laughed out loud.