The return of Vancouver rain

2005-08-31

in Daily updates

At work today, I spoke with a young woman who was the very embodiment of classical beauty. With her defined chin, well-proportioned forehead, and noble expression, she would definitely have been stolen by the British if she had been carved in marble. While the extent to which her appearance matched that form was incredible, it was impossible to tell if she was fourteen or twenty five. Her voice, tinged with a British accent, didn’t help. I saw her for less than two minutes, directing her towards the hanging file folders.

Tonight, I am trekking across a rainy Vancouver to Commercial Drive, in order to meet Sarah P. Alongside whatever else we discuss, I hope some of the more theoretical aspects of the NASCA report will come up. She is one of a handful of friends that I would really like to get a conceptual edit from, though asking for one from anyone is excessive, given the 9100 word length of the present document. While based on observation, analysis, and conjecture rather than extensive research, it is nonetheless almost 33% of the length of my eventual thesis at Oxford.

Speaking of Oxford, the Tutorial Office Administrator at Wadham College emailed me today. To quote: “I felt I should point out that Wadham needs documentary evidence that you will be able to cover both fees and living expenses for the full duration of your course – ie BOTH years of the MPhil. .. We are, I’m afraid, not able to confirm our offer of a place unless you are able to give us these guarantees.” Suddenly, “I really need money, please give me some” has to become: “It’s all cool, I have one hundred large just sitting in an account waiting to transfer over to you.” Hopefully my vague promises of loans and, hopefully, scholarships to come will be enough to keep them from pulling the red carpet out from under my feet.

Suddenly, our summer weather seems to have been replaced by the pervasive grayness of Vancouver in fall and winter. The change of seasons is marked by the move away from quad iced espressos, as documented on my financial spreadsheet, towards caffeine-laden drinks that are actually hot. More importantly, the shift has a psychological counterpart. In my case, it’s mostly a double reminder of how soon I will be departing and just how well-understood a place I am leaving. While Vancouver is beautiful, temperate, and well-stocked with friends it is not a mystery to me. Racing towards a place that is endowed with that most intractable of qualities is both thrilling and slightly intimidating.

While walking home up Capilano Canyon today, in the mist and rain, I thought about Karen. It doesn’t happen to me overly often, but I suppose it was just the kind of circumstance where I would formerly have given her a call. From the beginning, the whole tragic matter has been incomprehensible; it is not becoming less so with time, though the poignancy is diminishing and changing into a more wistful kind of sadness.

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B April 11, 2006 at 11:24 pm

Fern Hill
Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydeys of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daises and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay-
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among the stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house-high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turnings so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

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