a coruscation of plan

27 April 2008

The way is dark, the road is steep;
But He's become my eyes to see.
The strength to climb, my griefs to bear,
The Savior lives inside me there
~from "A Living Prayer"
I have been feeling as if the way is dark...dark with mystery. I like the dark just as I like mystery, but to continue trudging towards the unlit future is daunting indeed. I am used to living under the scrutiny of school's stage-light which floods its fluorescent rays over every thought and examines each, even those I should prefer to clean up before displaying. Intelligence and ignorance are illuminated alike, for in college there is no corner which the stage-light does not reach.
The future, in contrast, is dim. It's like my backyard at night: I'm pretty sure I know what's out there, for I've spent the day weeding and mulching and mowing and planting until I am familiar with its present components. But what if, during Apollo and Artemis's shift-change, the beds were rearranged? What if a vole destroyed the roots of the hydrangea or a bear crushed the maple sapling? What if the flimsy plastic chairs tipped over or my neighbor's volley-ball rolled over into the middle of my yard? The nighttime veil covers over my physical sight and allows my mind's eye, the imagination, to see better, making the familiar unfamiliar. I would just stay comfortably in my well-lit house, but sometimes the back beckons me and I venture onto the deck in order to peer beyond. I see shadows mostly, so I turn to go inside.
Ting. A little light flashes near the fence. Ting-ting. Two more are over by the blueberry bush. The fire-flies are out, speckling the shadows with their humble coruscations, and I catch glimpses of what could be out there.

What might the fire-flies have illuminated? Here is the outline of some shape I think I saw by the light of the two over by the blueberry bush: I plan to...
  • work at an entry level position in my local library, or, depending upon openings, someone else's local library for a year in order to gain experience and save up
  • take the GREs (I hoped it would never come to this, but...)
  • attend an ALA accredited master's program in library science (I will look into the programs at Catholic University [D.C.], University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill--always my dream to go there! and St. John's University [NY]). Or I could always join Meagan at the University of Pittsburgh, where she will be studying for her master's in library science--we could room together and go Scottish Country Dancing every week!
  • procure a job as a librarian--either local or collegian
  • pay back my graduate school loans

All the while, I should continue to clean houses and continue to write short stories for the volume I hope to finish before I'm fifty.

I hope the fire-flies showed me well.


23 April 2008

We're going to Scotland!!! Linda so very generously offered to host my two roommates and me for a few days in St. Andrews, a university town jutting out above the Firth of Forth which is the inlet above Edinburgh. She even said she'd be happy to act as tour guide and taxi when she's not working. Her hospitality never ceases.

So now I'm off to order our Globe tickets for King Lear and then we'll be all set. Oh, except for figuring out our health insurance, but I'll save that for a dreary day.

22 April 2008

I thought I was going to make it through GCC without a hard-drive crash, but no; I didn't. My computer would not start up yesterday, so I brought it to the TLC and when I asked the girl who was staffing the desk what caused the malfunction, she said simply, "It's a senior computer."

I guess it's just supposed to break down.

Besides happening in a hectic two weeks, however, my computer chose a good time to quit working, for it gave me the opportunity to get a brand new hard-drive in my last few weeks of school. The whole process was pretty painless--until I got back to my room and found that the new Word and Outlook were loaded on my computer instead of my beloved old suite. I hope it's easy to figure out.


18 April 2008

In class today we explored the relationship between love of truth and intellect, and love of someone—basically, the head versus the heart issue. Must one who devotes herself to academia revoke that when she gets married or can she unite the two (assuming they are exclusive, which I’m not sure that they are)? I don’t think this is actually a valid question because love of education and love of someone are merely outside distinctions of one foundational love and one unified personality. I love a book because it touches something within me—an experience or emotion or dream or idea and shows me some facet of God. Poetry beautifully written, whether purportedly Christian or not, will display before me God’s own beauty and his delight in craftsmanship which his man-creation has unwittingly echoed or reflected. A man whom I would love romantically I would love because he, too, touches something within me, and I am drawn to him as I see his godly character, a visible reminder of God’s character, which is invisible. The man, however, can never approach Christ’s purpose, for he perfectly is God’s invisible character visible and the man imperfectly is God’s invisible character visible. I suppose that’s why man was made in the image of God, a likeness but not essence, while Christ is like God in essence.

So how did I get to this point? Oh yes, discussing the unity of the personality, how love for things is an expression or desire for God the source. But also love itself is not entirely this mysterious force; it is very much based upon knowledge. Paul writes that love is patient, love is kind . . . Say I love this man again—it is because I’ve seen him display such patience, such kindness in many different situations over much time. I know him to act like that normally and so I trust him with my love. It is, in fact, a verifiable love, most definitely formed not by a flight of fancy but by empirical evidence, weighed deliberately.

dance card

16 April 2008

So...after I graduate. It's the question that dogs every senior, what are you doing afterwards? I usually flee to an explanation of my summer plans and hope that will suffice, but beyond that we both know a blank future looms--and I mean blank like a dance card with only one or two names filled in. I'm standing in the midst of a swirling dance, watching some couples relishing the music and their intimacy, some only dancing dutifully and listening sharply for the final chords, and some, like myself, standing on the perimeter enjoying it all but not dancing. I see several fine looking young men, and I hope at least one might see me and put his name down for a dance.

Who are my choices? Well, Mr. Editing seems to lurk at these affairs, but he's looking more dapper than usual--perhaps it's because he's realizing that editing can also mean editing for a publication which incorporates other interests, such as art or sewing and need not be limited to documents or poorly plotted books. Mr. H. T. Guide (I think his initials stand for Historical Tour) walks in and out of my peripheral vision; he looks interesting but seems rather elusive. I don't know about him. There's my old friend, Mr. Housekeeper, who reminds me that my card need not be filled with the names of academic types. And then Mr. Nursing-School is a recent addition to the pool, or at least I haven't noticed him before; I tilt my head. You know, I never would have looked twice at him, but come to think of it...

I've eaten the ears off my chocolate bunny as I've been typing.

every time I see my backpack...

15 April 2008

Everytime I walk by my hiking backpack, I get really excited and cannot wait to pack it for England. It has 2800 cubic inches of space plus three external pockets for those little items that get so easily lost in the bottom of the main compartment. Its straps are comfortable, and it has waist and sternum straps to help carry the load. What a piece of excitement! I think of where it will go and what sort of floors it will be tossed upon in just two months--let's see, a family home in East Sussex an hour south of London and west of Kent (Canterbury Cathedral) and the white cliffs of Dover; a loft in the Lake District, which Edward describes as a sort of stone tent with an outdoor loo and primitive shower; and an English castle near the Welsh border which, I hear, has a resident ghost of a dog, some ancestor's faithful hunting partner several centuries ago. I'm not sure where the ancestor resides.

My backpack will also see several hostels--two stays in the Bird's Nest in Greenwich and a stay in my beloved Oxford. It may also travel to Scotland near St. Andrews, which is a new development in our UK trip plans. Linda, a former GCC student, is completing her doctorate on the influence of Medieval literature on the work of Charles Williams (what a dream study!) at St. Andrews and, although she has a one-room cottage, eagerly has offered my roommates and me her floor for a few days. We originally planned the WWOOF trip around a Scottish mansion, but it turned out that the couple had no room for us (in terms of jobs, not space, I'm quite sure) and our Scotland plans fell through. We are so excited to resurrect this part of our UK journey with the generous hospitality of Linda.

WWOOF stands for WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, an organization which offers people of all ages the chance to work on farms in return for lodging and food. I joined with Meagan and LeeAnn just because I love to travel and this was the cheapest way to do so, but now I am actually quite interested in learning about sustainable living, especially after having read the Agrarians' book, I'll Take My Stand. There is something to be said for living amid the cycles of life and death which help to foster a concrete vision rather than an abstract vision, which comes with the danger of losing sight of or fragmenting the really real into something which may turn out not to be an accurate reflection of the True.

So yes, I get excited whenever I pass by my backpack, because on its new and innocent nylon exterior I can imagine the smudges and tears of the experiences I'll gain in the UK as I meet people from different cultures who are established in the time-honored way of farming. They are among those of us who do not embrace Progress wholeheartedly but who insist that concrete tradition must not sacrifice itself to some vague vision of the future. And a summer spent roaming? How lovely!

the not-school-part of me wants a chance...

14 April 2008

I'm approaching graduation now, scurrying to write my final papers on the Psalms, Keats' poetry, and the cultural events I've attended throughout the semester, some of which have been an amazing lecture given by Dr. Michael Ward on Lewis' Narnian series, David Hirson's play La Bete, and scenes from Thomas Cranmer written by Charles Williams for the Canterbury Festival.

But, lectures and papers aside--well, I'll stop there, because that is something I've been tempted to do these past weeks: scrap the school work for sewing and painting. I've got some old clothes I want to reconstruct when I get home--you know, making alterations such as adding a bodice to a skirt to make a dress, bleaching designs into solid tee-shirts, or even just salvaging the fabric and making a whole new garment or pillow or quilt. Reconstructing old clothes is something that's all too easily lost when it's cheaper and faster to get something new rather than rework what we already have. But with the ease of buying factory-made clothes, we lose an opportunity to exercise our creativity and our minds.

As for painting, I've recently started Japanese brush painting and have been painting birds and rabbits and fish and trees as much as I can. It's such an exercise in distilling the complicated network of muscle and movement and texture down to a few strokes which still must convey the animal. Sometimes my birds don't look like birds and my carp rarely look like carp, but I still love the process of grinding the ink stick and mixing it with water and experimenting with all the strokes of which the brush is capable.