Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Moment of Calm

Is it the cold? The damp? The holiday? Or just the odd free moment in my hectic zoo schedule? I don't know for sure, but I'm feeling sublime and nostalgic.

As I walk across this campus, hood up in a weak fabric attempt to keep myself dry against the light Autumn rain, I can't help but think back to my early college days. As I was pass the Music building, I remember a 17 year old me, listening at practice room doors for my roomie, playing her clarinet scales and cursing loudly at mistakes. I remember nestling into the covers of my tiny twin bed, with a warm cup of cocoa, overflowing with mini marshmallows, listening to the Florida rainfall compete with loud hissing and clunks coming from an antique radiator. I remember the wet stillness that falls across Murphry Green when all the students are hidden away in rooms, or gathering in hallways.

I remember feeling so young, still stunned to already be in college... and yet feeling so old, mature and jaded to be out of high school. Laughably, that same conflicted arrogance is what can vex me so in my younger classmates. There are moments where I cannot tolerate it, and others where I jealously remember being so blissfully self-involved.

Course... here I am, blathering on about my life and my memories in my blog... as if anyone in the world could really possibly care. LOL. Self-involved is apparently a stage I haven't quite grown out of, if anyone really can.

In the library today, there is a warm silence that smells lightly of moist mulch and growing things. The rainy season in Southern California is also the time of growth, and I enjoy watching plants bud, or grass turning vibrantly green. The media/learning lab area is alive with keyboard clicks and IM pings. Laughter behind me as young women mock Myspace fotos and post with friends. Whereas only moments ago, I felt as if I were back at FSU, these new noises now make me feel as if MUCH has changed since I was in college. It was another decade... hell, another century. Wow... I'm crazy old.

I came to the library to work on my final project for Wildlife Education, while staying dry and warm. B.E. Projects were turned in today, and Diversity finals start next week (well, the first of 3 will be on Tuesday.) However, despite those pending assignments and anxieties, I sit fairly calm and composed, reflecting on college and the rain. It is a good day.

When I do find these moments to post, I have half an urge to ramble on about school: its woes, its dramas, and of course, the animals. Big rubber dairy boots and a shovel full of poop seems to all fade into the background with a 300+lb lioness watching you work. Her amber eyes entrance me and all manual labor seems easier when she's nearby. The coyote seems to trust me more than most others, and although I cannot work with her yet, I think about her often. This week, my assigned area of cleaning is Parrot Gardens. I'm admittedly not much of a bird person, but when a kookaburra breaks out into that long exotic call, even jaded ancient me can be impressed.
In short, school is school.... with all the good and bad that every college experience brings with it. But on rainy days full of memories, it is pleasant and playful and lovely to enjoy.

Wishing you all a great grey Wednesday, and may your Thanksgiving, however you experience it, be full of good friends and good food.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Standing in a New Place, looking Forward

I've never been one to participate in politics. I'm not the girl you find in line at most polling places. I have little faith in our legislative and judicial systems, as they are currently practiced. My experience of politics has been 101 promises, 99 of which are broken (and one is reworded to exploit a built-in loophole). Why would I need to vote when I could get that sort of abuse from any number of previous relationships? Deeply ingrained in Generation-X cynicism, I embraced apathy... for it was easier than expressing and channeling the fury that our world's current state aroused within me.

And so, when the pre-presidential flurry began to spin, I tried to ignore it. ALthough I live with a man who has been working to support Obama since it was a grassroots campaign in Chicago, I tried to ignore it. I fought being won because in the end, it all comes down to one vivid and sometimes toxic emotion... hope.

Hope comes with strings attached. Strings of expectation. Expectations leave gaps and opportunities for disappointment, when they remain unmet. And so many times, they do.

Yet somehow, in all the chanting for change, a tiny seed of hope crept in. Small as it was, I did my best to avoid it, and not let it run any major decisions. I did however, find myself willing to vote, for the first time in a long time. Not only for the presidency, but for many state propositions that are important to me. I cast my ballot by mail, as I wasn't in the county during any open polling hours. And once the envelope was sealed, I didn't give it much thought. In fact, inundated with animals and education, I actually forgot several times that today was election day.

But as I killed time between evening classes, dining with a friend and seeing the first peek at the numbers, I felt an overwhelming stirring in my gut. I recognized it at once. The aching butterflies in my tummy were the twinges of hope, gnawed at by the fear of unmet expectations. Momentarily paralized, I did my best to push the news report and the quivering tingles aside, and focus on class.

Time passes, events roll forward whether you pay attention or not, and by the time I was in my car for the long ride home, McCain's concession speech was being aired. Driving east on the 118, tears rolled down my face. Me... my face... the face of a woman who until now has never much cared for election results, who avoids political discussions, and despises the bickering two-party system. Face to face with the fact that I was emotionally invested, I turned off my radio and came to terms with my unexpected reaction.

Can we? Really? Can we Change? Human beings are creatures of habit and radical turns of events have never been well embraced by society as a whole. The best of intentions can still be stymied by fillabustering and stalling. Worse yet, promises may not be kept.... best intentions might not be brought to the table. What then?

Hope. It terrifies me. But I cannot help but fill tonight with it. To let it float like smoke in the air, resonate like the final chord of a piano concerto. It hovers tangibly, waiting for expectations to be not only met, but embraced and bettered.

Yes We Can..... I certainly hope so.