The world would end as it began, as beatific arbour, and if any family crests or luminary busts or graven names of institutions were yet visible between the droning hives and honeysuckle, they would be by then wiped clean of any meaning. Meaning was a candlelight in everything that lurched and shifted in the circumstantial breezes of each instant, never twice the same. Significance was a phenomenon of Now that could not be contained inside an urn or monolith. It was a hurricane entirely of the present, an unending swirl of boiling change, and as he stood there gazing out towards the city's rim, across the granite fields of time towards the calendar's far tattered edges, Snowy Vernall was a storm-rod, crackling and exultant, at the cyclone's dangerous and brilliant eye.