Saturday, May 17, 2014

better things fall together

I watched the lonely little ducks swim in the reflecting pond, shivering in the cold rain as I returned an armful of books to the institution who needs my interlibrary loans back.
They seemed very upset by the unexpected and highly unwelcome rain.
They looked so forlorn, I felt they had been wounded, taken in by Mother Nature.
They had been expecting sunshine, and ended up with storm-clouds.
They looked as tense as the push and pull between past and future.

I think the major problem with right now (right now is senior week, the eve of commencement, commencement weekend, the last hurrah--it goes by many names) is that this is a time of great transition, but also it's an Event.
It's your Commencement, they say, the very word dressed up in academic garb. Treasure it, savor it, this is your weekend.

But this is also a transition time of a magnitude and bizarre severity previously unseen and never before experienced.
Not only am I brain-storming with my parents, figuring out where to store what and discussing the ins-and-outs of New York City, I am also looking up flights to come back to this very place in one month. I am thinking of when I get to move back into a bright little dorm room with a window overlooking the lake. But I am also rolling up my carpet, and moving out of the little nest that has become a home. And once you start to pack, your home becomes a little bit sadder, because you are slowly distancing yourself from the four walls that you have made yours, and putting the pieces of your home into myriad boxes and bags and suitcases.
Packing means rolling up all the odds and ends that have made your house into a home. It means rolling up the Elephant tapestries, and remembering how you were in India a summer ago, and how you forget that fact all too often.
It means slowly dismantling your wall of pictures and thinking: in Real Person World, I will have to put these all in frames and/or scrapbook them.
It means scheming up a system to preserve all the dried roses that have been biding their time in their wine bottle vases.
It means agonizing over how to pack (it may be an impossible task, but I'll go down trying) the sprays of flowers that have been in your room since February.
These resilient creatures are hearty beyond conception. If it is possible, they look even more beautiful than they did in winter. Now that it is May, their little dots of buds, lined up on their willowy stalks, have bloomed open into little star-shaped flowers.
They are perhaps proof that many beautiful and old things, when kept instead of discarded, end up growing more into their loveliness as they grow more into their aged-ness.
It is hard to know when to throw something away, when to discard a past treasured pieces of bric-a-brac. It is hard to know what to let go of and what to keep.
Packing is the art of learning to let go of a lot of things you thought you would miss keenly.
And it's also realized that the little things you took for granted: like the elephant on your bedside table mean a lot more than you thought they did.
They have woven themselves into the fabric of all your memories, by their constant, quiet presence.
Their familiar visages have steadily won your affection, by the very token of their familiarity.
And so you pack them away in boxes, to be taken out again only God knows when.
But for now, it is time to think of the Commencement in front of us, and the immediate adventures that await us just beyond it.

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