Mighty Caribou

RATT and the Eagle:

A View of Edmonton from the Top of a Campus Bar

Sept. 26, 1996 - ENGL 299

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Sipping a cold beer in the Room at the Top, the campus bar high on top of the Students Union Building affectionately known as RATT, I scan the horizon. Searching for a creeping rain cloud or perhaps a racing Boeing 747, all that I spy is the sun positioned just above where the sky meets the earth. There, a multitude of farms and highways lie sprawled awaiting the human eye to take them all in.

My eye follows a roadway into the city until both the eye and the roadway seem to collide with West Edmonton Mall. At this distance one cannot see the flocks of people that bury themselves within the depths of the shopping centre. It looks like a small Pandora's box which encases numerous delights. A short distance from the mall, or at least it seems to be just a short distance when watching from this eagle's nest atop of the world, three lone towers, likely apartment buildings, loom overhead.

From the towers, one can follow northward a ribbon of green and yellow and red that covers the trees in the river valley leading to the Space Science Centre. It looks like a tiny white cylinder with a solid black center which has had the top half of it cut off at a forty five degree angle. Inside astronomers are surely scurrying from telescope to telescope preparing for an evening of searching the universe for new planets and stars.

Continuing northward, the downtown skyline climbs into view. Meanwhile, within my peripheral vision, I can see that the sun begins to end the evening in a blaze of purple, crimson, and orange on a backdrop of deep blue. Back downtown, lights start their equally dazzling display as they sparkle intermittently in a variety of rooms in different buildings. Traffic lights continue to do their eternal pattern of red, green then yellow as cars cruise in between the lights carrying on them two red back lights and two bright white headlights. Suddenly, the university's Tory building's high peak pops into view blocking out the rest of downtown Edmonton.

The university campus is full of life even though, by this time, the sun is well out of range and the stars have come out to travel around the celestial sphere. In front of Tory, I can see the Central Academic building with its five or six floors of black windows. From there is connected the Civil Engineering building going southward and V-wing lying westward creating within those confines a little park nicknamed "Quad". People, looking like miniatures out of a dollhouse, are still hurrying through Quad rushing to their evening classes on paths partly hidden by various flora . They wink in and out of view as first they are visibly seen under the street lamps and then as they become shadows as they step out of range of the lights.

Behind V-wing is the off-white Physics building and then behind that lies the infamous Biological Sciences building. University urban folk tales tell how four architects who could not agree with each other were contracted to build Biological Sciences. As a result, it is a very unusually shaped building, rather like a number of different sizes of brown blocks stacked one on top of another, with a glass greenhouse topping it off on the roof.

Looking further to my left is the dark, glassy Mechanical Engineering building. Closer in is the Agriculture and Forestry building with its deck on the second floor. By the light coming out of the windows one can see the lawn chairs on the deck with the umbrellas closed tightly. Connected to Agriculture and Forestry is the General Services Building. Within, one can see movement within the windows as custodians clean up the day's mess.

Stadium parking lot is close to the General Services Building. A few scattered cars are still parked on the roof. Below, one can see a rusty yellow truck drive into the lot to take advantage of the free parking in the evening. Between the parking lot and the Student Union Building is a covered walkway and another building. This building is foreign to me other than it has large orange bar-none sign on its gravel roof; the results of a practical joke from nearly a year ago during Agriculture Week.

A little to the south is the running track and the football field. Flood lights brighten up the track so that a few souls are in the process of their evening jog. As I watch the joggers complete a couple of circuits, I finish up my drink and leave RATT to go and study something other than a view of the city and the fermentation process of barley.

Last modified: Thursday, 26-Jul-2001 12:58:20 MDT
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