[was going to be] another temporary note – last walk
1:00am Wednesday, Nov 14
I kind of forgot what I was going to write.
: refocus :
So I am very slow doing what I need to do.
I kind of can’t fathom the amount of work I have to do yet. The uncertainty and ignorance renders an alternating mixture of fright and carefree ignorance in me.
It was a beautiful day today, with uncommonly bright sunshine throughout the day. The colours of everything were so vivid and crisp that I had to stop many times on my walk around the campus (likely to be the last one of the year, as I reminded myself) to observe the juxtaposition of the sharply delicate edges of chimney pots against the feathery clouds in the saturated blue skies. The string trio arrangement of Goldberg Variations on my iPod, with its beautiful and pure resonance, was most fitting for the fall skies, dark dry tree barks and reddened and yellowed leaves. The sun made me squint constantly but I was helpless to stop myself from soaking in the green field, the grimed stone walls of old university buildings, the turquoise-blue bronze rooftops and the rich glories of natural autumn hues, red, yellow and brown.
I sat down on a wooden bench by the intersection of my favourite quad at University College, next to a tree where many sparrows come and go. Sparrows are my favourite bird, in a way, in the way their homely ubiquitousness – distinct from that of city pigeons, which are often found annoying – brings back a nostalgic familiarity of childhood memories. The common neighbourhoods of Seoul and Yeosu and Chung-ju, all of the various cities and towns of Korea where mornings are unanimously signalled by and greeted amidst sparrows. [I would say sparrows chirping, but I am not sure if sparrows chirp. Ornithologist, anyone?]
I was able to observe many a sparrow at a very close range today, as those sparrows did not seem to mind my presence [as some human beings might, though in the company of animals I speak decidedly less]. Though they all look alike in a swift group flight, from up close they were quite disparate from one another. They surely all had a fuzzy tummy-side, a bit gray and then some white and all sort of wet from the rain puddles from the previous days. But some were fat, some were skinny, one like a bashful adolescent and one compact and hyper-energetic like a curious child. I wondered what it might be like to touch their furry underside. A black squirrel came to join us, near my foot, and for a moment I felt transported into some fairy tale where animals start talking to the little girl and some such.
Walking back was nice, except I kept getting distracted by the overload of sensory stimuli – which were mostly visual, so I had to tilt my head and throw it back to look up at the feast that was presented before my eyes, to be lapped up in as many different angles as possible, so I may take it all in and feel the aching transience of such vivid beauty. As I disappeared finally through the fences around the law school, I lingered to capture the multiple halos around the sun, barely hidden behind the edge of the building, and it was transience that was also everlasting.
All that is transient makes one wish to weep, but nature offers transient beauty that is also eternal – I used to feel much, much saddened, even tragically despaired, by the impossibility of recapturing moments lived and beauty experienced that were clearly all too fleeting. Yet perhaps that desperation was unnecessary. No reason for despair in the eternally renewed cycle of life and beauties. Beauty is everywhere you find it – and though each instance may be unique in the moment, it is an identical likeness, a quality of quiet bliss. Art in this sense is an expression of the transient and eternal – which may be why I found the Bach crushingly beautiful and perfect against the backdrop of an instance of natural beauty.
With one last look back at the sky and the platinum emanation of a half-hidden sun, and the small, semi-distant figures of walkers strolling through the yellow woods in the Park, I slowly stepped into the building, calm and healthy, filled with some grace of life.