Monday, August 29, 2005

A Corruptor of the Youth

It seems that some of my financial woes have ended, having of course some degree of unmerited faith in my own will, as I have garnered a new poste at another university here in Austin. Fear not, gentle reader, I am still corrupting young and impressionable minds at ACC as well.
I have begun a lecture position at Huston Tillotson just recently. I had not been familiar with the school until I received a lucky email from the department at ACC asking if anyone was interested in an adjunct position there. It is the oldest institution of higher education in Austin and I recently discovered that it is associated with the Methodist church. Needless to say Isaac and his mother were thrilled.
Huston Tillotson is nestled just off 7th street on the East Side of I-35, no more than ten blocks from that ever clogged artery of the city. It is a historically black university, which unfortunatly in Texas means that it has not been appropriatly funded, but it is not, by any stretch of the imagination apparent in the campus of their facilities. The buildings are of the same light brick that made Austin College, and sits on a hillier version of that Elysian campus, Austin lending this new Austin college gentle hills atop a high place overlooking downtown and the noble spires of both UT and St. Edwards.
I'm struck suddenly with visions of my walk to class. Coming up from the main entrance to the school just off of 9th St. the triune bells sit glorious in their tower just in front of the science building and as I climb they are to my right, facing mostly the rising sun while I mount a hill to see morning mists rush down the slow slope behind the building to the horizon which holds a sister tower of almost crimson red, another in Austins own Roman lighthouses spreading truth much more than message of war.
It's really only ever just a flicker with me as I see it on my way to my 9am class, and that foul hour, made fouler by the fact that Ive been awake for an hour or longer by then, is always a bit elusive to my memory. Still, that single flicker often seems so much more real than the lecture that I give just moments after. Its strange the things that the mind clings to remember and those much more pertinent things that it bothers to forget.
The lab that is my second home from home is a bit disorganized and scattered. There is no physics department, per se, and it shows in the nature of the lab. I'm not sure yet but I believe that there is no full time professor of physics at the school and that I am teaching the full set of physics classes that are being taught this semester.
Its a terrifying and exhilerating experience all at once.
Suddenly I have dreams of building a department from nothing but my Will and my Soul. I'm taken with what it would be to sunder a place from the main and take it somewhere new, show it things not yet seen, to seek freedom. With work and devotion I could take a school that has no major in my field and form from it a garden to the universe and various truths of this reality, this home to you and I.
Could I make from this soft mortal stone a thing more withstanding?
Still, my dreams are higher than mountains and my hopes lay elsewhere. Perhaps I'm not to change the world or even too much my little piece of it. Perhaps I should be contented in the work of an earnest soul that sculpts souls to reason. So tomorrow I'll begin my own great work, I'll let it be what it will be. Tomorrow I'm going to remember that flicker of light from another lampost at a campus not so far away and the light I give to the flame outside my classroom window.
Tomorrow I'll deliver my lecture and then spend a few spare hours getting the lab and its equipment into shape. Sparks, after all.
Who could have thought that a work of great love could start with organizing a storage room?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Old Times and New

Nicholas came to visit us today with an entourage in tow. His best friend from high school, Billy, came in to town with Jamie tagging along. I'm glad to see that he is doing well, though there are some aspects of his life that are a little less than envious, his mothers health is not the best but she seems to be moving through it with a certain kind of grace. Still, for the most part it is good to see him with lighter spirits and especially since it is always good to see old friends regardless.
Times have certainly changed since the last time I saw Nick, but in questions of gradiation between these new times and those that are older had to come at coffee just a few hours after they arrived. It is truely exquisite this nonlinearity but at Spider House with dear friends from a year ago I ran into a friend I had always wished to know better from nearly a decade ago. Will Cowan, whose old cell phone lasted for so long amongst my box of scattered trinckets, a brighter face from my darker days in Dallas, was sitting in a corner of Spider House as I ordered sangria for Nick and Bill.
Will seems to be doing well. He told me that he has spent some time abroad and was able to complete a degree in philosophy with a second degree in spanish literature ending this december. We talked for a while and had great conversation, much to the detriment of conversation with my visiting friends (but, eh, they'll be here all weekend, Will only lives here). Still the respite was nice. Good conversation is always so hard to come by, even in this fairest of cities.
I am forever surprised by the imagination of my Aunt Serendipity and the cool humours that guide her hand. Here I stand, a common scene in this city, confronted eternally with the promise of a completed past, some better whole.
Its been the gift of a city so brimming with soul. Matthew, my Lohengrin; Katherine with her passions; Isaac who has never left me and Jason who comes anew; a certain John from Austin College who stumbled into my life as a gift of that ever so sexy Stacy who haunts my bottom floor from moonlight to the promise of dawn, all these things and more have come back to me here in this place. So many endings that are new beginnings and, and well I wax poetic.
Nick and I had a wonderful time catching up. He has decided on majoring in physics, to study relativity as I recall, and he is hoping to transfer to Austin College. Some strange coincidence, else my Aunt and I have more authority than I often recall. Still, we spent hours discussing some of the finer points of theory and recalling old days, some a little less than glorious.
Bill it seems I had met before, but I dont recall it, which is unfortunate. Bill has a striking personality and a certain sort of wisdom about his actions. Some archetypical male comes to mind with all the appropriate virtues but lacking in the more agressive vices of the gender. He's just gotten back from a tour of duty in Korea and had all the best stories of the day. On his insitance I am traveling with the trio to Houston this weekend to see his family and hang out with old friends of his. It promises to be an adventure, and Houston is awfully close to Katy, where China is being rebuilt in replica. Perhaps I can convince them to stop by and see a great palace of kings, or perhaps I can convince them instead to buy me a drink or two to shut me up. :-)