Thursday, September 30, 2004

on a morning such as this

I got out of bed at 7:30, I was tired and exhibiting cranky symptoms. I opened my blinds and the sun wasn’t up yet; I went into the kitchen and pushed back some yogurt (with flax seeds, tahini, brown sugar, and oats—this little hippie’s insta-brekkie). My English class starts at 8:30 am, and this morning my flatmate wasn’t driving. No worries, I’ll walk, but I'd been up late the night before and, well, there really is no excuse for the morning crankies, but they exist nonetheless.

So I set out. On the way (the top of Palmer St) I met up with Darren, and as we walked to school together we noticed that in the valley (down the hill, towards the river) there was thick mist obscuring the view of town, and also that in a power line over the road a spider's web glittered and wiggled.

Once in George Martin Hall, my classmates and I sat for a good 15 minutes before we realized that class was cancelled. Prof. Sawler had warned us this might happen; his wife's pregnancy was imminently ending, but naturally he didn't know when exactly. So I read the Aquinian (campus newspaper) in the sun, then collected something from an office at 9 am, then began walking home. The streets were quiet and I sang to myself, and read The Great Gatsby, and marvelled at the shapes of leaves on trees. The colors too--how in one tree the spectrum goes from lime to chartreuse, and then in another neighbouring tree it goes so far as to spash out into crimson and gold! It was roughly 10 past 9, so the long hill of Regent St (I cross it at Kings College Rd) was empty; I imagined rolling a bowling ball down it.

At York Street I met a Portugese water dog named Tristan, and his owner, a woman in her late-fifties wearing comfortable walking clothes. I petted Tristan (curly short black hair) and we talked amicably about how the weather was so good for walking, but the air was a bit damp though. I continued on my way, passing students on thier way to campus, (one had on earphones to a discman; he passed with a small, sudden, sonic 'tssee') singing to myself a bit of jazz. "On a morning such as this/with the sun high in the sky/ I thought of you...." Perhaps no self-respecting jazz musician would ever write a song about the morning. Perhaps he'd never have the inspiration. I continued on.

From certain vantages my neighbourhood looks like a manicured, German forest that just happens to have streets running through it, houses and clean new cars parked at the low curbs. The trees form a dense, stunted canopy of detailed green, and somewhere between the hours of 9 and 10 am the sun casts sweet sparkles on the dew of well-kept lawns. It is quiet, and giant grey squirrels bound furtively between homes. You imagine finding a hidden glen, and birdsong, and a burbling brook, all with the pine needles swept attractively, purposefully. But this is not a park, it is a residential area. Could have fooled me.

I made it home. Eli was still asleep on the couch, Patti was leaving for her class. "So you went to school for nothing then, that's too bad," she said. "Yes, I suppose that's true," I said. It would be seen as conflict to say that no, I didn't go for nothing. I went in order to meet Tristan the Portugese water dog, see grey squirrels on the job, watch morning mist rise off the St. John, and find out that my professor has a new baby, God willing. It is a good day so far.

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