Friday, 22 October 2010

Return from Austin

I'm just back from Austin, Texas, very jet-lagged, arriving in a downpour at Edinburgh airport. Yet although wet, the cold was, surprising to me, not as intense as I remember it when I left. I quite like this disorienting feeling, of not being quite here, despite having a nap in the afternoon. Outside it's raining again, and one of the ash trees has lost all its leaves which means that more light comes through the windows.

Looking down on the countryside around Newark, the trees began to be colourful, orange and gold and yellow hats on them. In Texas the leaves just seem to fade or go slightly yellow and then drift to earth

a light rain of small and yellow leaves
soft sunshine, combed with shade -

a breeze rustles little leaf-waves
like the sea -

the dogs' feet crackle on the path

And in a vast second hand bookstore only a few blocks away I found a book I'd been wanting a copy of for some time – Camus'
Lyrical and Critical Essays.

Walking back in the hot sun, crossing under the flyover, waiting for the red warning hand to change to the white pedestrian figure – a man with a backpack and a sun weathered face crossed over while it was still red. Don't you cross though he said - looking out for my welfare - there are cars turning on red. I wait. Turn round to watch his progress, for another pedestrian is a rare sight. He looks back and waves. When I turn back the sign has changed – there's no time to daydream or be looking somewhere else for if you miss it, the red hand starts flashing again only seconds later. I cross over, leave the flyover behind, continue down the wide pavements. There is no hurry and no shade and no other pedestrians in sight.

More later, about the State Capitol, and the Enchanted Mountain....

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