Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Looking forward to / Listening

Home is less than a week away today. Toronto is a good home away from a home, but the tall buildings exhaust my eyes, and, after a while, the crowds of people and traffic and businesses begin to sap my soul. I am ready for hills and fresh air, vistas filled with nothing but nature for my eyes to run into.

While I'm waiting, I'm writing and listening to these albums:

Storyboards (Sleeping At Last)
The Singing Well (The Emporiums)
Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Prayer in Spring

by Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The weekend spring finally arrived was a domestic one. On the first evening I wore a coat when I walked from the subway to J.'s apartment. We ate dinner while we watched a movie (Big Fish) and then worked until sleep came knocking.

The second day was sunny. I was an essay-marking machine, cutting great swathes through the field of words before breakfast. When breakfast was over (at 12), the sun was even brighter. More essays until the room was filled with light and unbearably warm, at which point I moved a chair onto the balcony. Sun on my shoulders and face and neck, reflecting on the pages beneath my pencil, glinting on the distant surface of the lake barely visible around the corner of the building. After lunch we resumed our seats on opposite ends of the couch with our piles of books and papers and deep thoughts. Perfect silence while the sun set and our pencils marked slow time. Then it was dark and we began to think about dinner. At 9.30 we ordered in sushi and watched Inglourious Bastards--a deeply disturbing, highly creative, artistically perfect film; the gore was not compatible with sushi. After the movie, I finished making notes on an article and went to bed.

The next morning (this morning) opened with a thunderstorm. Thick, throaty notes of thunder rippling through a gray sky, and rain slicking streets. We had coffee while we studied. I finished my marking and a second article and late in the afternoon the sun returned. We no longer worked in perfect silence because the windows were open and all the birds in the neighborhood below us were awake, heralding the fresh weather and damp earth. I fell asleep in the sunshine, and when I awoke it was time to go home. This time, on my way to the subway, I carried my coat over my arm and my sweater in my bag. I wasn't cold.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Please, spring; soon, please.

Ashland, Oregon (June 2010)


Don't underestimate the power of a syllabus. It's a legally binding document, or so I've been told. This week I have been putting out small fires. I didn't stack the wood or light the match (an important deadline that was not explicitly stated in the syllabus is responsible for that), but as a TA I am, unfortunately, the one responsible for dealing with the students who are worried about getting burned. Extra office hours, extra emails, extra stress on the faces across from me. But it's almost over for them. The undergrads are almost free. And me? I'll be around. However, I'd like to take a break from fire-fighting, so don't look for me near the flames.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Six monthiversary

Shortly after midnight a man, balanced on a ladder, appeared outside the double glass doors. We could see his legs, his chest and shoulders, and a part of one hand and arm.  From where we were inside, warm with the glowing notes of string bass, saxophone, and alcohol, we could see that he was changing the letters on the reader board above the doors. His presence on that ladder with his hands full of letters, importantly after midnight, meant that a full six months had gone by.

Six months ago J. and I stood in the almost-dark of Philosopher's Walk and said, "Alright. Let's be brave and give this a try." This being us. And half a year later we find that we like the business of being us. So the plan (if you want to call it that) is to keep balancing on the edge of tomorrow, substituting yesterday's playbill for that of the hours to come--one vowel, one consonant, at a time.