This morning, the rain cleared up the air; autumn birds continued their journeyed conversation as they pass through this city. What welcome music, and how amazing that they take over the neighbourhood, which, albeit interspersed with courtyard trees, is still a city: they find higher-up places and call out to each other from different perches atop the dozen buildings near by.
Because sometimes the city and a life can seem so small - and not small in a contrite way. Except there are reminders otherwise, like in the Psalm that was one of my boarding school's mottoes: levavi oculos.
What a different place the world was when I was small. That boarding school had been established by two women after WWII, to gather orphans of different races in a country that never went to war, to show them that it was possible for people to get along regardless of creed or nationality. During those years, we could never dream the ending in Passage to India. But the headmaster was practically Victorian: when he would visit the dormitory, he would never enter before asking: "Are you decent?" We would meet one evening per term in his quarters, over tea and biscuits, with he and his wife and two other girls: us, always on edge, for we knew our behaviour would be scrutinised. To my imagination, or memory, it was mostly an orderly time - though punctuated, of course, with the "unsureness of self" that comes with being young.
And as for such uncertainty, how easy it is to forget one's earlier ways as one grows older, particularly if one has indeed been growing, and leaving behind the messier aspects of immaturity like so many cocoons.
And how many times do we leave the safety of our personal ticks like those "disguise kits" from childhood - where one could become a hunchback, or have a wart - and no longer have the safety of the already-denigrated package to hide in before others had the chance to squash us?
And what of the disappointment when we see that despite our best efforts to work flawlessly, mistakes are made... But is that not but that which is marginal? The marking, in red ink, in the margins. The real question is: are we trying? Can we find a chord of beauty to fly on?
Even the mosquito from Egypt merely flew into the wind, to be carried to distant lands, along with the small diamonds of sand, that collect on car hubs, glinting so unexpectedly in the afternoon sun.
And the birds, too, find those wafts of wind, saving their wings from exhaustion - but continuing to go in the right direction: I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
One has but to raise one's eyes above the city of markets: for at just the first level above it, are birds making their way across the planet. Or one has but to close one's eyes, and imagine the golden stag.
To be married too intensely to the quotidian of appearance is to have a very unhappy marriage indeed, for, "The wheel of changing Time ... revolves without ceasing".