Graduate school isn't something I planned. Astonished and a little desperate at finding myself still alive on the shady side of 50, I leaned against that door and, when it swung open, stumbled through.
York University feels far more foreign than most of the odd places I've found myself. My cautious step from the bus reveals the three decades between me and most of the undergrads they hop and leap past, spilling onto the griddle of the campus, a mini-city thrown together from a set of million-dollar blocks.
Providing some relief from the brutal architecture is a willow-dappled carpet of lawn and fountain where students relax.
Most of the heat in this place isn't from the waning sun, but from youth itself. It's all bellybuttons, backpacks, "Yo!" and deep public kisses.
Skateboards clatter on concrete, scattering the gulls that chase after hot dog scraps. Lithe as ferrets, young men and women drape themselves over the concrete walls and steps talking, napping and reading.
But I'm in the crowd that's drawn through the glass doors to rush to class. The drumming of the university's institutional heart sends us coursing like a mass of cells through its channels, shoving us into chambers with strangers. Behind those doors we are focused, expectant.
Graduate classes are small. Whether they're dedicated to survival, saving the world or simply to sliding into that higher pay bracket, students are curious, argumentative and intense.
After a 25-year hiatus from being schooled, I feel like a plant being watered.
I came to survive: I stay to learn.
As I leave my evening class, other students head to the pubs and events that celebrate the first weeks of school.
The late summer sky is on the side of youth. A make-out moon hangs hooked, dead centre, transforming the bleakness into a de Chirico painting.
The stars seem to be wheeling about the sky, but it's only airplanes converging on Pearson airport. Blinking, they drop out of their constellations and sink into the bloody west.
I head home to put my feet up.