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What light breaks?

(published 6 September 2011)

How did Romeo feel as he glimpsed the first shards of light that day as he stumbled into a consciousness of an outer world while encapsulated within Juliet’s? Today a lab meeting, in the boss’s office – up high amidst the wind and rain that is relentlessly affronting the building. A smallish contingent as a result of diverse slowing effects on other members of the group, but I take great pleasure from the interaction, varyingly business like and humorous. I am saddened at the thought that I only have one more month in this place; my time here is mostly gone.

The grey and gloom are pervasive in my mood as I walk around (and only enhanced by stumbling into Jeff Beck singing “Lilac wine” in a cafe as I stop to grab a coffee), and I feel as if my eyes are trying to absorb as much as possible of the quirky visuals that comprise the campus. The assorted travel trophies in the office; a folder entitled ‘Circles of light’; the oversized coffee mug; all the men wearing stripy shirts. These things bear a new weight in the wistfulness of the nostalgia of upcoming departure.

This residency has been a curious creature for me. I am always desolate at having to leave my home, to tear myself away from the peace and otherworldliness of my quiet and secret place. And I keenly feel the transitions into the weird, wider world – the crassness encapsulated in the free paper that has been discarded on my train seat, the towering spindles of teenage girls at the railway station last night, high on their platforms, legs topped by miniscule skirts, and the facile, protracted, fantasies of a Twilight movie that is playing as I arrive at my ever-welcome, ever-welcoming accommodation. And today the transition into this other world, that of the University; externally still slow and quiet, amid the rain, since term has not yet started. Yet behind the silent doors, along the quiet corridors the work beavers on. Here there is an ongoing wave of advancement; the group I am affiliated with are making tiny electronics devices that are at least as good as those made by the giant corporation of Intel; the five unassuming men I met with this morning are creating our future. It is extraordinary, what luxury to be here and share time with them; I am desolate at the thought of leaving again. I speak, yet I say nothing; what of that?

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