02 October 2013

This Campus Enchants Me

It's hard not to lie in bed and look out at the falling mist. So I succumb. I've spent so long lying there, eyes up at the shining grey clouds. On some days. an obscene patch of blue can break its way through the barrier. But it is almost always recaptured.

Yesterday the clouds broke away like I had never seen. I was at the gym, when I looked back at the window behind the treadmill to see not the mist which is always falling here, but rain pouring down on the tennis dome. I dreaded walking back to my dorm on the other side of campus without a coat. So I was surprised, when my hour was up, to see that the hard rain had gone. The sun now blazed through the parted clouds, and it caught itself on the droplets still falling from the tall trees. It was a nice warmth. As I made my way past the manor house I saw steam rising from the flower beds. The rain was evaporating before it could soak into the soil. And as I walked farther, I saw it was happening all around me. Large droplets of water, collected in the trees during the rainfall, would hit the warm ground, where they would turn to steam as well. Great wafts of steam like a low swirling fog surrounded me. The campus was on an alien planet. In my awe, I chose to give myself to enjoying it, so I didn't take a picture. But my friend Tessa posted this one on Instagram within the same hour.

I write this in my room, illuminated by my open window, where the sky is again a shining grey and where the mist is again falling. The campus, and Portland at large, doesn't get rain or sun -- not on most days. On most days, it gets mist. A mist that gently falls and never ceases. A mist that is so fine it could never get your wet. A mist that is so pleasant it makes me annoyed by the occasional sun.

As endless as the mist is, it doesn't always fall. One week ago, on my walk back from the law campus (where I work at their computer lab help desk), I passed the manor house in the night. There was no mist, but there were some clouds. And this time, I took a picture of my own.

It may be hard to see in the darkness, but I liked that about it. This old building, lit by gold lights and the cloud-traversing moon transfixed me. It wasn't the first time, either. When I walk by the manor house, I always look over to it. The window glass is old, and I can see how it bends the light as I walk by. Its chimneys will sometimes be active, piping their own smoke into the thick morning fog. Blending with it. But the manor house is not all there is here. It is not all the beauty of campus, although perhaps it is the epicenter.

I'll tell you more another time.