Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Meta-Blog

So: the frequency of my posts has been decreasing markedly. I blame finals and final projects. Those are ending. However, this blogger is likely to be mostly offline for the remainder of May. Vacation! Back-packing! and blog-dormancy.

I have to decide whether to take a break from blogging for the summer, too (since I'll be really busy with my internship), or to discipline myself to keep writing. . . Any comments?


Finals are ending, and everyone is leaving. Yesterday and today, I hung around friends as they packed up, cleaned, and carried their bags of belongings down the stairs and out the door with the broken lock to their parents' waiting cars. I carried bags and boxes for them, met their mothers, and trailed after them as they tracked down RAs to check out. I watched from the side as they surrendered their keys and became suddenly unattached to the rooms that had been their homes for nine months.

Free, unburdened, they skipped down the stairs, leaving their final footprints on the dark green linoleum. Outside, the rain fell on the verdant trees. It is still falling. The sky is shrouded in soft gray.

I should be studying, but instead I am typing this, and remembering the goodbye hugs--the "I love you"s--the "call me"s--the "I'll miss you"s. The empty rooms feel barren like trees in winter. Their doors are shut, locked, but the emptiness seeps out. . .

The elation of those going home lingers in the hallways like perfume.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I saw ducklings today, swimming along after their mother. They skittered across the surface of the water like leaves blown by the wind. They are bits of golden fluff, striped with brown and spiked from the wet. How does that fuzz turn into sleek feathers? How do those skimpy waving nubs become spreading wings? Their mother is so much bigger than they are, like a creature of another species. I do not remember the days when my mother towered over me like an invincible fortress. We are the same size now, and I am no more breakable than she is.

The swans were at the mill pond, too, white and gracious like angels on the water, with their cygnets between them. On the lawn, the Canada geese were herding their grazing babes, yellow on green. I never knew so many birds deigned to dawdle with their young in the domain of the earthbound humans.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lyric Snippets

(Preface: I will not give you any info on who the speaker/audience is for any of these when I sing them in my head, because I mostly just don't know. It certainly isn't consisten throughout the songs. I don't even know how accurately these lyrics reflect my thoughts/emotions, but they're the ones that struck me.)

I can't tell dreams from truth...
If you want me,
Satisfy me...

Deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waters
All of your waves have crashed over me...

Trying to pull myself away
Caught in a pattern and I can't escape...

What direction? What direction? What direction
Life begins at the intersection--
What direction, what direction, what direction, what direction now?...

Here we are now in the falling stars and the rain
We're awakening...

Don't wanna be the only one you know
I wanna be the place you call home
I lay myself down
To make it so, but you don't want to know
You take much more than I'd ever ask for...

Dare you to move
Dare you to lift yourself up off the floor...

I just wanna live
Don't really care about the things that they say
Don't really care about what happens to me

I'm tired of lookin round rooms wonderin what I gotta do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't wanna be anything other than me

[artists/songs: "If You Want Me" from "Once"; song whose title and artist I don't know; "Trying to Pull Myself Away" from "Once"; "Faust, Midas and Myself" and "Awakening" by Switchfoot; "Hamburg Song" by Keane; "Dare You to Move" by Switchfoot"; "I Just Wanna Live" by Good Charlotte; "I Don't Wanna Be" by Gavin DeGraw]

Friday, May 9, 2008


Today was the last Intervarsity meeting of the year, so there was a lot of time to just hang out and talk. I found myself circulating around the room, talking to at least a dozen people... When did I become that girl who knows everyone? Not that I actually know everyone, far from it. But at Intervarsity, at least, I know quite a few people; the same is true in Honors. My middle school classmates would be shocked to see me so sociable. I used to only say "Hi" to about four or five kids. I guess it's good to know I'm making progress.

Sorry for a rather surface-y post, but it's past 2 and I've been studying CompSci. Midterm tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I encountered this article on blogging today. It raised the question for me: Is expressing your feelings and connecting with people via a blog, which by its nature is public and, to some extent, distant or abstract, a form of courage? or is it cowardice?

The courageous aspect is that anyone can read what you posted. Rather than you selecting a trusted friend, relative, therapist, etc., to bare your heart, with the confidence that what you say will stay with that person rather than being scattered all over the streets to be trampled and torn like yesterday's newspaper, in blogging you are baring yourself to the world. In a sense, writing an honest blog is like the proverbial nightmare of being naked in front of a crowd.

The cowardly aspect is that you haven't sought out any particular person to trust. You haven't committed to anyone the gift and burden of sharing something no one else will hear. In asking someone particular to listen to you --to give you their time and attention, to care what you have to say, to continue caring for you once you've said the things no one is supposed to know--you make yourself vulnerable. You tell someone you trust them, and if they turn out to be unworthy of your trust, you are more shaken than you would have been if you had never trusted in the first place. To extend the metaphor of nakedness: Speaking to someone directly can be more frightening than addressing an anonymous public in the same way that being naked for someone you care deeply about is more of an emotional risk than exposing yourself in front of strangers who do not know you and whose opinions you can easily blow off.

Which variety of physical nakedness is more of an emotional risk depends on who you are. I suppose the same goes for the emotional or intellectual nakedness of communicating. The courage/cowardice mixture must depend on the particular blog and blogger.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


A wreath of flowers, scarlet and orange and golden, laced with dark green leaves. Wreathes and more wreathes, and flower arrangements. The bright petals shine like a sunny day. So many flowers, a garden condensed and turned on its side and brought into this crowded room, a sea of flowers and colors on the shore of black-clad people. On each wreath or arrangement is pinned a little white card, across which march prim black letters. Condolences. With deepest sympathy. The flowers shine against the solemn people. (Their tears form another sea, their talk murmurs like the washing of waves.) At the front of the room, the focus of all the attention--the altar around which the flowers congregate, the one we are here for and the one we can barely stand to look at--lies waxen and still.

I did not feel until I saw the flowers. I did not cry until I read their stiff cards.

We will never see him again. The colors are too bright for such a dark time. The colors are bold, are harsh: are like life. We are here in a room devoted to his death, yet life is all around.

We leave the room, slowly, holding dampened and crushed tissues. We go out into the cold night air, under the black sky, and the silent stars. We go out into life.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I'll talk about hard things if someone else brings them up, or if the person I'm talking to already is aware of that hard thing, but when the other person doesn't know anything is wrong, I consistently just don't bring it up. Ignorance is bliss, and forgetfulness and distraction simulate ignorance rather well, for a while anyway. The difference between my friends and those whom I'm just friendly with is that I will eventually make myself tell a friend the hard thing, while the acquaintances will remain in the bliss of not knowing.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Sitting on the lawn at dusk

Out of the looming clouds
swims a mystery
trailing a bright tail
across the colorless sky

Luminously lovely
for a moment only
In the grass beside me
a dandelion blazes steadily

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Sometimes I forget how huge an impact my body has on my experience of everything. Naturally, all the sensory information is filtered through my body. The taste of an orange, the scent of its peel, its weight in my palm; my perception of the clouds swirled across the sky, of the spidery tree branches against the vast space; all the sounds that enter my mind, whether music or muttering or talk: they are all tinted with the health or energy or sluggishness of my body.

And what I forgot is that hunger is such a powerful focusing agent.

I fasted on Wednesday, and it felt like all these cobwebs and clouds of schoolwork-stress and interpersonal drama and just plain hurriedness were brushed away, and I could see and live clearly. Focus. I always know G-d is there, always know the principles guiding my life, always seek connection and peace--but I don't always feel it. The spiritual I tend to think of as influenced mainly by my relationships with people, my moral decisions, my G-d-seeking habits (church, reading the Bible, etc), rather than by the state of my body. But when I didn't eat on Wednesday, even without spending hours in prayer or formal worship, I felt so close to G-d and reality. Hurry and worry are like cataracts, emotionally and spiritually. Fasting made those scales fall from my eyes.

And I don't mean to say that simply not eating fixes things. It's the attitude of sacrifice, of seeking--of putting into physical practice a longing for something better--that does it, I think. Motivation and direction shape the fast. When your body keeps reminding you, "I need food. I hurt. I hunger. I lack something," you remember, "The thing I really lack is G-d." You direct your thoughts as though herding a giggling group of small children who keep running this way and that.

Not by my own will power, nor by some simple mechanical effect, but by some mystery, some grace of G-d, the fast brings clarity. I see. I live.