Wednesday, October 11th, 2006
I’ve really done very little knitting, what with Red and her mom in town and all those wonderful tombstones to photograph.
I have a bit more of Alex’s Trekking XXL socks:
Their most exciting feature is their eye-of-partridge heel:
Get a load of that, will ya?
Eyes of patridges aside, I believe the fall weather and the turning leaves have gotten me into a rather Proustian mood.
Red’s recent visit may well have been my own personal madeleine, conjuring up tableaux of the past that I had not revisited for a long time. Tableaux in which she was a baby, and I was her twenty-one-year-old babysitter. So much had not yet happened.
Now the seasons are inexorably shifting.
Then again, my autumnal mood may have to do with my experience of campus as an “older” graduate student.
There are many strange and wonderful things about going to graduate school in your thirties, but the most magical and poignant moments occur in the fall, in September and October, when there is a slight edge to the air in the mornings but it isn’t really cold. Yet.
All the students are back on campus. There is a sense of renewal and possibility.
You feel the diffuse promise of the new school year even when you are nearly forty and you don’t have quite your whole life ahead of you.
And yet, my life on campus creates frequent Proustian moments when the past and the present collapse into a singularity. I look across the quadrangle and see a boy with curly black hair leap athletically into the air to catch a frisbee and I think, “Oh, look. There’s Phil.”
For just an instant, my friend Phil is there, embodied, eighteen years old, lithe, full of good cheer, airborne.
Then I remember that Phil would be forty or nearly forty now himself. He’s probably greying a little, his shoulders are rounding slightly, he is most likely more earthbound, he probably has his own children.
The leaves are turning.
In keeping with this bittersweet theme, on our way back from our walk yesterday afternoon, Shelley and I passed by the former Dame School:
The Old Dame ain’t what she used to be.
But then again, there’s the very real possibility that she’s becoming something better.