Wednesday, April 9, 2014

tastes like mold, smells like resurrection


"The English and their gardens are meant to literally domesticate you. In them, there is an order and a shape, there is a right size for this and for that, there is a right size for you and your life (and they're lovely gardens, I'll give them that). But nature, the experience of nature expands the human being beyond itself, beyond the right size.

Who wants to be right-sized?"
--Cyril O'Regan, speaking for the Romantics

The world has sort of dissolved sort of into a sort of slush of sunlight and half-sprung buds on trees.
You know, it's a sort of, with respect to the springtime and lambs prancing on hillsides and green grass reflecting the sunlight, you know, it's a spring sort of feel in the air, you know.

As I sit in class, and mimic the oratorial style of one of my most beloved professors, I wonder if he can spot the difference between the autumnal student and the springtime student.
In the academically-oriented fall-time, the jewel-tone leaves falling off of trees, and the whisper of impending snowflakes in the air, makes a student yearn for school.
As the world decays into winter, a human finds comfort in fireplaces and the colorful worlds found inside the books on the fireplace mantle.
As nature all around us reminds us of death, we seek solace in the great thoughts of the thinkers we encounter in the musty books on the library stacks.

Autumn is a scholastic season.
Man is forced inside by the elements, and so he explores instead the rich world inside himself.
The universe that man has crafted through art and craft and the wealthy storehouse of knowledge that great humans like Edith Stein and Aristotle and Augustine and Catherine of Sienna and Kant and Jane Austen have accumulated all together.

Springtime, though, springtime.
There is nothing scholastic about the explosive, bombastic, untamable and unpredictable outburst of sheer unabashed growth that has inundated the world.
The sunshine is not like the stale warmth of the August sun, it is not yet a dreaded summer sunshine that causes one to beg for a cloud or a breeze to break the steady heat.
This sunshine tantalizingly warms the fresh, cool air.
This sunshine dances lightly on the cloud tops of sunrise.
This sunshine is mixed with the clear, shrill notes of birdsong.
This sunshine is an enchantment that draws us onward, which draws us upward and outward into the fresh wind blowing off the lakes, draws us out into the trees, with their buds that promise new leaves.
There is no way to stay inside when the world outside is soaked in spring time.

People like to chalk up the listlessness of second semester senior year to this thing called Senioritis, but I think the exhaustion is due to one too many pieces of theatre, the impossibility of staying still in my classroom chair is due mostly to the brightness of the world outside, and the futility of fretting about school work is definitely due to lunches in delicate white lunchrooms with Flannery O'Connor scholars who have peacock tattoos on their hands, the allure of benches and the conversations that take place upon them, feeling the sweet spring air flow through your lungs as you run through the open field coffee dates during which you drink tea, laughter-soaked walks, cozy breakfasts with toast and avocados, baking apple bread late at night with no company other than the Breakfast at Tiffany's record on the stereo, surprise birthday celebrations with clandestine pink champagne, walks around the lakes with old friends and new, being shaken out of your complacency, by realizing that there are niches and pockets of beauty out there: beautiful places, books, classes, human beings, professors, friends, who are still waiting to be discovered.

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