time is a train
Finding myself in Palo Alto this morning, with class canceled, I took a weird nostalgia trip on the Marguerite shuttle and spent half the day at Stanford. The wing of the library that I remembered as closed for earthquake reconstruction has been restored, and there are beautiful reading rooms there; I also dropped by the bookstore and saw the syllabus for the course my old advisor is teaching (Ulysses, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, the odes of Keats, John Ashbery's early poems, a couple of other books on philosophy and aesthetics that I wasn't familiar with  good work). Inexplicably, they did not have the new book by said advisor in either the Stanford Authors or lit crit sectionnot that I want to buy a fifty-dollar book, but I would have liked to browse. All the copies are checked out of all the university libraries in California.
I also went up to the seasonal lake I used to frequent when I was eighteen, to see if I could recover my adolescent idealismand in fact it was right where I had left it, buried under a secret marker rock. I pressed it back into the soil, where it can germinate for another five years or so, and wrote a thousand words. Coming back on BART (I'm learning not to use the definite article) I passed through the southern part of San Francisco that I only ever see from BART because there aren't any restaurants or bookstorespeople just live thereand I tried to see it as I might remember it in ten years, after I've taken an academic appointment in a Siberian yurt or wherever I end up: the sunlit rows of houses sliding past one another as the train slides along its track, the city already exotic and half unreal, like a postcard, already ripe for memory.