Wandering Thoughts

October 23, 2014

Ceremony

Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 9:36 pm

Graduation ceremonies are not for me. I imagine wilting pomp and standing, bored. I don’t begrudge other people wanting to mark their achievement with this, but it wouldn’t make me happy.

And so, instead, two days after I handed in that final hard-bound thesis, to make something of the flush of relief, and to give me a full stop, Jo and I drove out to Lake George.

There, the west wind, already summery-warm and dry, had the windmills busy, and purple flowers were splashed up the hillsides. Gallahs and Rosellas flew about while we sat eating sandwiches, and I thought about old uncertainties. Could I get a research permit? Could I get access to villages? Would people speak to me? Could we manage my health? What would the travel be like? Could I find questions? Answers?

I also thought about the work: the chasing, the making contacts, the organising, the re-organising. And I could have thought about the small group of people who made it harder than it should have been. But it was too nice a day for this. And it was a celebration. So instead, Jo and I talked about everyone who had helped. And we thought back over the adventure — the travel, around parts of the Solomon Islands that we would have seen no other way. Rainforest tumbling down mountainsides into the grey seas of the Weather Coast. The sunsets of Langalanga lagoon. The flower-clad villages of Gao-Bugotu. The way thunder storms thumped over Iron Bottom Sound.

I’m still waiting for the university to confer my degree “in absentia” but, fuck it, we had our ceremony. That was graduation. And as Jo could make out from my happy chatter, it felt as good as it should.

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October 9, 2014

Sweden Strikes Back!

Filed under: Staying Places — terence @ 9:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

My memory isn’t what it used to be (or maybe it never was, I’m not too sure about these things anymore). This isn’t always bad. Seasons bring surprises, for example.

I’d forgotten the things spring does to campus. Willow trees swaying in the westerly, plump with leaves they could never possibly lose. Late blossoms. Early flowers. And something gone to seed that has set flurries of cotton-snow drifting over the grass and whirling by buildings.

It’s pretty. Though not nearly as pretty as this. Sweden, and country and western: what could go right?

Everything, it turns out.

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