As you’ve noticed, my posts here came to a nearly screeching halt with the start of the semester. I had hoped to keep posting more regularly, but have been short on time when I have the energy, short on energy when I have the time, and short on interesting things to talk about on those rare occasions when I have both time and energy at once.
We’re coming off Fall Break, here – today has been our last day of freedom before classes pick up again where they left off last Friday afternoon. Relative freedom, anyway – I spent all day doing homework in preparation for tomorrow. All told, this long weekend has been very busy, full of people and not a whole lot of actual rest by introvert standards. But it’s been a good weekend nonetheless.
Amidst the flurry of Becca’s parents and sister visiting, a trip to Grand Rapids, games played, conversations had (on their part) and listened to (on mine), cooking, shopping, and cleaning, there have been moments of calm. Friday afternoon, Becca and I ditched everything, homework, cleaning, the lot, and went for a walk in the park. Even though we live together, it can sometimes seem like Becca and I don’t ever see each other, much less spend time together. I value the time we get to spend doing homework together, of course, especially now that we’re both seniors and our homeworking-together time grows limited. But that is not constructive time together – we don’t get to discover things about each other or deepen our relationship because we’re too busy discovering things about and deepening our relationship with dance in the early 16th century or Welsh nationalism or Old Norse verb endings or exponential growth and decay. These are all very important things too (except perhaps exponential growth and decay – but I will refrain from starting that argument because I’d lose as soon as a mathematician came along). But the fact remains: spending time in the same room or even on opposite ends of the same uncomfortable college-issue pseudo-futon does not equate with spending time together.
So spending the afternoon walking around Centennial Park and drinking hot cider and enjoying the first few fallen leaves of Autumn (which comes much later here in Michigan than anything I grew up with) was a gift. As were the few hours spent reading together – Becca is introducing me, slowly, surely, and in a lovely Welsh accent, to the Prydain Chronicles, which are fantastic.
I’ve also had a bit more time to contemplate the future, and to get homesick. The visitation of Becca’s parents served as a bittersweet reminder that I’ve not seen my own for two months, and won’t get to see them for another slightly-over-two-months more, either. I’ve missed another round of Sheep Festivals, Leaf-peeper B&B guests, Tunbridge World’s Fairs, Fall shearings, hayloft-fillings, wood-stackings, and evening walks up the hill when it’s cold enough for a jacket and gloves but the sky is lit up like fire by the sunset over the mountains, which are already burning with the loss of chlorophyll.
Yes, Father, you heard me right: I did say I missed heaving the final, desperate loads of hay into the barn. And stacking the final desperate cords of wood in the basement. It’s good fun, and good hard work.
As for the future, I’ve had many conversations with myself, my roommate, my advisor, my parents, my sister, my dance teachers, my pastor, and just about anyone else you can think of. I’m taking the GRE on the 17th, but I haven’t studied and have no desire to go to a big graduate school, or even a small one. I feel obligated to get a Masters at least, because I don’t want to ignore gifts and passions God has given me, but I don’t have career or life aspirations that would require one, and don’t know what I’d get it in anyway. I don’t want to cease being a professional student, but all I really want to do is get my own little apartment and a real job (no matter how mind-numbing or dead-ended) and a cat. And all I can think about this Autumn, like every Autumn before since leaving Vermont for college, is how much I miss the Farm, and wide open spaces, and real woods full of fernbrake and ticks, and meadows full of fox holes and crickets, and the drafty old barn with dustmotes shining lazy and cold in the light that blows through the knotholes in the door.
I wanted to go for a walk this evening, but there is nowhere to go, here. It’s all pavement and manicured walking paths and noise. I hope I never get used to that – I hope there is always an autumnal longing for the wild land my roots cling to. All the same, it will be nice when I can settle down in my own place and grow attached to a new home, wherever it may be. How long does it take, after graduating from college, to find a job to stick with for several years at least? I’d like a bit more certainty, a full-time home, the knowledge that I can grow attached to a place because I’ll be there for a while.
I’d also like a cat.
[photos from last fall, later in the season – the leaves aren’t nearly so golden yet]