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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fog, fall, and anticipating the next course of the meal

Wednesday, early morning, padded in with the soft tread of a big cat, wrapped in just enough gray fog to blur its movement across our peripheral vision until it was already upon us. Too late - Mr. Malleable has sprung!

I like driving top down through a light to moderate fog. Not really sure why. There is a certain muffling to sound in a fog, a refracting of sound waves (if sound waves can refract, if they cannot, then let's blame the effect on the God Particle) that makes me want to listen more intently as I pass along the familiar pathway from home to campus.

Like bodiless water passing in a sigh,
Thro’ palsied streets the fatal shadows flow,
And in their sharp disastrous undertow
Suck in the morning sun, and all the sky.
- from Fog, by Louise Imogen Guiney

Though we have been enjoying a beautiful spate of summer-come-lately, even with temperatures in the low 80's (upper 20's C), the sun is no longer as warm and intense, the days are noticeably shorter, leaves are starting to fall, and there is that particular crisp in the air that we instinctively know in our bones of ancient wisdom means summer is leaving. It is the hinge in Stanley Kunitz' End of Summer:

An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.

If we're honest, many of us greet this with at least a flicker of nostalgic relief. By the end of any given season we may tire of its signature taste and yearn for the remembered favors of the familiar next course. From this vantage point at the end of still-warm-but-fading summer I can appreciate the idea of a warm sweater, a [politically correct gas] fire's warmth controlled incrementally by proximity, curling up with a good book in a circle of lamp light because it's too dark and wet and cold to do anything useful outside.

I was in the mood for some Belle and Sebastian this morning, so today's soundtrack hails from their most-recent album, Write About Love.

Today's full playlist:
- I Didn't See It Coming
- Come On Sister
- Calculating Bimbo
- I Want the World to Stop

- Posted via Hermes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Today, I will be a cloud

Sunday, summer, and a brief respite from sunny. We had the top down on the Miata on the way back from meeting mom for Sunday breakfast at our favorite local breakfast spot. The clouds were sagging like a late-hour toddler's diaper, and I was watching for leaks around the edges just in case I needed to quickly yard the top up.

Rain is forecast for this evening and tomorrow, which will break a near-record-breaking run of dry days. The forecast also suggests more unbroken sunshine after Monday, so this storm of wetness exists only in the eye of the dry spell.

The first sign of this brief change in weather was a beautiful scatter of small white clouds stretching across the blue above us:

John Keats, in To Autumn, says:
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
or to lift a couple passages (one early, one concluding) from Henry Timrod's amazing Vision of Poesy:
For oft, when he believed himself alone,
They caught brief snatches of mysterious rhymes,
Which he would murmur in an undertone,
Like a pleased bee’s in summer; and at times
A strange far look would come into his eyes,
As if he saw a vision in the skies.

And he upon a simple leaf would pore
As if its very texture unto him
Had some deep meaning; sometimes by the door,
From noon until a summer-day grew dim,
He lay and watched the clouds; and to his thought
Night with her stars but fitful slumbers brought.
“And therefore, though thy name shall pass away,
Even as a cloud that hath wept all its showers,
Yet as that cloud shall live again one day
In the glad grass, and in the happy flowers,
So in thy thoughts, though clothed in sweeter rhymes,
Thy life shall bear its flowers in future times.”

Like this short respite of weather, I have enjoyed the last two weeks as a respite from the weekday routine. I toggled off my campus email and voicemail and am pleased to report I have not once checked it. And won't, until tomorrow (Monday) morning. I enjoy my job and love the campus I have the opportunity to serve, but it is good to take the occasional, complete, and unplugged break. Sometimes healthy perspective requires breathing space.

It is still Sunday, though, so I will say no more about that. My chores are (mostly) done, football beckons, and I intend to float through this day like one of those small inconsequential clouds from yesterday. Shhh...

- Posted via Hermes.