Monday, November 05, 2007

I like. . .

From my journal:

I like the pattern of my days. I like coming to campus, seeing my new friends, making plans with them after class for study groups or coffee now or later. I like that I do almost no homework but reading by myself. I like going to class and fighting sleep in the hard ones or taking rapt notes in the interesting ones and the ones that go along at exactly a pace that I can stroll alongside. I like sitting with my friends in class or the library and fending off their hijinks so I can concentrate. (I have begun writing on Mike’s skin to keep him from writing in my notebook.) I like sitting next to Jake in the gothic library (which he called a cathedral for books when we first saw it), wanting to cuddle up against him while I read but not being able to. I like being girly girls with Tabitha. I like that our circle is getting wider naturally, pulling in Snapper and Jennie. I like being outside in the unseasonably warm fall. Right at this moment, the light is gorgeous. It’s mid-morning and there were storms earlier and there are storms to come. The trees are green and yellow. The sky is blue and grey with that certain storm filter over the lens that makes everything look a little surreal. From the bench where I sit, all I can see is lovely landscaping and sidewalks with classic lightposts. The ask leaves gets blown off the trees and stay suspended in the air like yellow glitter in a lush snowglobe. Off about 50 feet is a perfect cinematic moment: framed with trees in the upper right corner and shrubbery in the lower left, a giant green copper statue of some guy I don’t know stands very high on a pedestle. Linne. I love statues of people I don’t know. I’m fascinated that with all of the people that I think might be worth a statue, that guy is someone who was never mentioned in a history book. He evokes not even a glimmer of recognition. He doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. Yet, someone revered him or learned from him or was grateful enough to him to spend what had to be a lot of money hiring an artist to create a unique, gigantic likeness of him. It certainly drives home the lesson that our impact on this world as individuals will be forgotten eventually. But it gives me hope that my ripple effect will continue on much longer, as is most likely true for Mr. Green Anonymous up there. He affected someone else with his actions or thoughts or kindness or nobility or sacrifice or study to the point that a statue of him was commissioned. That’s got to be a pretty big rock in the pool and means that his life wasn’t in vain, even if only his name and likeness is remembered only on this one statue. Elsewhere on campus is a little plaque set into the ground that reads something like, “On this spot in the spring of 1938, Muriel Fantus Fulton and Maurice F. Fulton met as students of the college.” I like that. I showed it to my friend Mike and because he’s a guy he said, “What’s the big deal?” The big deal is that our ripple effect can cause ponds to overflow their banks and join with other ponds. The architect who laid out that sidewalk never knew that two people would meet for the first time and eventually spend the rest of their lives together on it. I picture them: Muriel and Maurice Fulton. I can see them simultaneously as the cute old married couple and the young under-grads at the end of the Depression. My picture is all wrong in any number of ways. But it is important because it is like the statue of the unknown 16th-century-looking-guy. I don’t know Mark and Mabel but I’ve got a good idea what their story is. It’s the same story as thousands of people around the world every day: they fell in love and then tried to stay that way. Just like I want to affect other people through my actions or thoughts or kindness or nobility or sacrifice or study, I want to fall in love and try to stay there. Those are goals worth monuments and I’m glad they exist as part of the pattern of life right now.

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