Leach and I left the gallery

Leach and I left the gallery behind and it was still dusk. Spring dusks are Arctic. Instead of the sun racing (visually) as it gets closer and closer to the horizon, like it does over the ocean or the desert, it seems to slow asymptotically and sometimes almost move backwards. It felt brighter now than when I had first come into the CoA. It was a brightness that filled the air like a mold seeking the detail and texture of the scabby crust of the world about us. Leach and I moved through it. It was the kind of inescapable light captured beneath a rainless thunderstorm with the omnipresence of effect that throbs in a room lit with incandescent lights after just leaving a room solely lit by fluorescents. But the sky was cloudless, endless, and blue even seen out of the viscous, icteric streetscape. With the city in shade but brilliant, the ascian (to misuse an adjective describing the shadowlessness of equatorial noon) clarity made immediate all of our surroundings. The front door of Medici was open and the place was empty. I was disappointed, after hearing from Leach that they served French press coffee, to receive my drink in a paper cup with an insulating paper jacket. I fancied us sitting together with a press steaming on the table, getting to flatten out the grounds and see the oils swim like brown rainbows across its surface. That is what one does at home at a desk. This was the world, beyond control. Without the sophistication of the French press experience we decided to go back to the CoA to sit in the courtyard. As quickly as we were in Medici the sky had turned white and the air sinking with the afternoon’s dying blue when we emerged. There was a roofed terrace on one side where a small reception was wrapping up with a few stragglers standing around a folding table to the east, studios stacked four stories on the north and south, and the arcade hallway with the gallery and PK beyond on the west now glowing like a farmhouse in the louring blue.
I felt like I was on a date. We sat on one side of as square banquette bench that I recall being quite weathered, not the constant attack of salt on driftwood but the splintering compendium of abuse visited upon a railroad tie. Serious conversation, even about vagaries, ephemera, or in this case craft and ethics, had an intimacy that made me uncomfortable. I don’t relish the scrutiny that my need to ‘live up’ to certain expectations is so bare, that I am on my own in the setting of the conversation, feeling out its edges, trying to define my capacity in it, trying to define myself externally through it. If these words were all I am, all that make up this moment, then I am losing it, I am not capitalizing it by painting the proper figures in it with my contributions, or I know the context of the conversation to be so much larger, especially with an old friend, and a friend with whom I count on this being only a jot on the ledger. As PK would indicate (now that I have, in the timeline of the composition, enjoyed his lecture at Georgia Tech) was a phased existence, a phased occurrence, a phased situation. How does the conversation color the in between, the down times, like the room we leave behind in the procession colors the spaces beyond it or you forget the vista on the first part of the hike until you see it in reverse on the return leg. I wish I could admit that it was a concern for all of these expansive notions that gripped me, it was my more unfortunate hesitations of saying something in the record of the friendship that would characterize me as less than I desired to be, or would fill the precious space of the moment with less than the most thoughtful and suitable addition (a slightly less crippling terror than the same manifested in architectural production) even though in these durational or phased constructions like friendships there were bound to be moments of clumsy fumbling, of somethings less than conventional satisfaction. (I seem to start out every burst of writing with a concrete observation, as though a prelude, that, as though a fistful of shot bringing down an elephant, never fails to devolve into introspection, I don’t belong in the world and its concrete prerequisites.) And because of all this I can remember less detail about the conversation that Leach and I had than I can about the courtyard, the sunlight seeping out of it, and two Strix Varias roosted on either side of the courtyard calling out to each other “who cooks for youuuuuu?” I could hardly pay attention to Leach for watching the sky in hopes of an owl’s silent slur of flight through the courtyard. With PK’s interest in farming the reaches where architecture tapers into the void, or into chance, into time, into nature (or out of it), I couldn’t help fixating on the sound of the owl calls. A young woman walked down the glassed-in arcade that separated us from the gallery which was full of light and shown still with the theatrical gravity of the wake. Seeing the girl closing down the gallery from the courtyard, to once again exhume the Homeric simile, was like staying past the ceremony of a funeral to watch the backhoe bury the corpse. but also, as the woman cut off the lights and locked the door, at that last moment, the nonchalant assumption that the future is full, long live the present, the air, the sound of the voices, the hedonism of the passing seconds that only lingers on our tongues in the freedom of college campuses, as freed as we are freed in the loss of a separate death.

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