Thursday, July 5, 2007

musings as the countdown begins

The looming leaving is beginning to take hold...every morning, I'm savouring the view from the red bench a litte bit more on my walk down to school, and noting the changes in the mood of the mountains surrounding Lake Lugano each moment I can catch a quick peek. Somehow I know these moods will haunt me once I have gone, the vast colours the sunlight casts on the peaks, the soft greens of thousands of trees, the harsh rock faces peeking through the foliage. During the day, nature dominates these mountains. It is difficult to imagine a place more beautiful, more harmonious. The sky and clouds merely mesh as background to the intensity of these massive hills. But as the sky fades and the colours change into bright pinks, lavenders, and oranges, man's attempt to tame the mountains around Lake Lugano begins to show. My favourite time is just before dusk, when the lights of towns creep up the hills, casting new light on these peaks. Funiclears run along the sides of Monte Bre and San Salvatore, a trophy to engineering conquering these steep hillsides. The lights stop abruptly, perhaps where man cannot build, or perhaps where man hasn't yet tried. The numerous cranes on the hillsides - 18 I count now - show man's determination. I like this juxtaposition of nature and man. There's a certain heart-stopping beauty to it.

Closure is possible because I'm returning, in a way. I first knew TASIS in the summertime, and now I am back in a comfort zone. The fat, three-inch beetles are back, taking their time as they cross the stones on my patio from plant to plant. The lizards are back, too, darting across well-worn paths along the hillside. Fuzzy honeybees buzz from flower to flower, burying their heads in Horst's creations. The greens are back, too - not the springtime greens in their fresh, light splendour, but the dark, rich summertime greens, happy to gleam in the sunshine and drink in the rain, confidently bursting with splashes of colour. Now, looking out onto the scooped peaks of Alpe Bolla, the rounded lump of Monte Bre, the triangular peak of a border mountain in Italy, and the lumpy mound of San Salvatore, I can hardly imagine a more beautiful place. There's a palm tree in my garden, proudly facing an Alp. Nature here is a confusing delight.

I'm starting to feel the sadness hit. This is inevitable, of course, and something I always push back into the depths of my brain. I've left a lot of places in the past decade. I've left some places on bad terms, some places bawling my eyes out on a train, others quickly shoving my things into boxes and hoping they arrive one day, some with parties and well-wishers. I'm not sure I will ever truly leave TASIS. This place has talons; perhaps it is Mrs. Fleming's commitment to the international aspect of education and its importance to any sort of future as human beings, perhaps it is the caliber of people it employs, but mostly it is the stunning, breathtaking view from the Collina d'Oro. Those of us who work here know we're a part of something special in an exceptional setting. We put up with its frustrations to be privvy to the majestic scenery.

I've lived next door to the place Herman Hesse wrote his most noteworthy stories. There is something very cool about that.

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