1)They finally repaved the road to the horticultural research station! Hooray!
2)It's long been the worst road on campus for skating, but it goes past the resevoir and the horse trails and the greenhouses, so it's beautiful but more than pothole-y I think it actually has sinkholes.
3)Had, that is, since it's all fresh and smooth and truly a wonder to glide down now!
4)I tossed my skates in the car afterward and went for a walk around Swan Pond, where I promptly got a massive splinter which by the way still hurts.
5)Just to give you proper respect for this "splinter", this was a piece of wood the size of a pushpin that lodged in my foot until I pulled it out with my fingers.
6)I just had to sneak into the work area where the crews were still clearing, you know? But there was a cool path!
7)Anyway, I had chocolate and peanut butter crackers for my midnight snack, and Andrea e-mailed me about carpooling to Augusta.
8)Also, I thought of something really crazy in the car this morning and I want to share it, but there's background.
9)A few weeks ago I wrote a notice page about angels, or more specifically Brady, but I didn't post it because it seemed too personal.
10)Now it doesn't, so I'm going to post it in its entirety here:
"I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us in our times of need"
1)During my freshman year of college, I knew this girl named Brady.
2)She wasn't my friend, but she was always there when I needed help.
3)My first semester, I was more depressed than I really understood until later.
4)I tested as a high suicide risk at Health Services' depression screening.
5)Which, looking back now, I almost find hard to believe.
6)I mean, it's not, because I was there and I remember, right?
7)But that mindset is so far from what I feel today that it's hard to imagine myself in that drama.
8)I made a lot of friends freshman year, and when my homophobic roommate kicked me out I met Amanda.
9)That was probably the real point at which my college experience started to turn around.
10)I should tell her that sometime. We used to talk about it, but it was so important that I think it should come up again.
11)Wait, what was I going to talk about? Not my personal demons, that's for sure.
12)Oh, my personal angels! That was it, which brings me back to Brady.
13)I used to see her every morning--we were on the same schedule, in some odd way.
14)We would run into each other in the bathroom, and then again in the dining hall.
15)And I'm not talking once or twice. This was like, every single day.
16)One night I was so tired and down that I was trying to make tea with hot water from the sink.
17)Maybe that doesn't sound important, but if you drink tea, that's kind of a huge gigantic Thing You Don't Do.
18)Brady caught me, dragged me back to her room, and made me real tea.
19)One day I was going home for the weekend, but I had to work first.
20)So I had to carry my duffle bag fifteen minutes across campus to the Field House.
21)I thought the shuttle was running, so it wouldn't be a big deal, but I forgot that it was a holiday.
22)Just as I was realizing this, Brady pulled up next to me in a pickup and asked if she could give me a ride.
23)I saw her in the study lounge one night, and I asked her what she was doing in college.
24)She just shrugged and said flippantly, "I tried the nine to five world. It didn't agree with me."
25)That was all the answer I ever got from her. I don't even know what she was studying.
26)And I sure don't know where she went after my freshman year, because I never saw her again.
27)Tanya, and then Amanda after her, became the new guardians of my fragile but increasingly positive outlook.
28)Does that make me sound co-dependent? I don't even know what that means, but we do tend to overlabel these days.
29)The first time I heard the phrase "nonlabeling" was at a Safe Zones meeting.
30)I guess that's not totally relevant, though, so I'll end with my favorite quote.
"Where you've been is good and gone
And all you keep's the getting there
To live is to fly both high and low
So shake the dust from your wings
And the sleep from your eyes"
11)So in the car on the way to work this morning, I was thinking that life is good.
12)I've always thought that life is pretty good, but sometimes my enjoyment of it has not been what it should be.
13)But lately, I'm really happy. I'm just happy, you know?
14)And I haven't always been. I remember crying in Freshman English because--don't laugh--I was struck by the futility of it all.
15)I was so frustrated, because I finally knew that I didn't want a THING, I wanted a state of BEING, and I couldn't figure out how to get there.
16)I still haven't, I'm sure, and yet the truth that I realized back then is definitely a path that I've followed ever since.
17)I have a quote that a fellow hiker gave me once, and this sort of sums it up:
18)"Both Wordsworth and Thoreau knew that when the light of common day seemed no more than common, it was because of something lacking in them, not because of something lacking in it... and what they asked for was eyes to see a universe they knew was worth seeing."
19)This is a liberating and yet terrifying realization to make, because it means two things.
20)One, we are always, always capable of being happy, just as we are.
21)Two, there is nothing we can do, achieve, or acquire that will MAKE us happy if we're not already glad in our hearts.
22)What made me so upset in English class was exactly that: "If I can't find happiness here, what makes me think I can find it anywhere else?"
23)And of course, I felt like I had no control over what I was doing, which didn't help. I was only in college because I didn't want to be anywhere else.
24)"I don't want to just go along, because I'm afraid that if you just go along you never get there."
25)We were doing personal interviews, see--I'm not really sure why, it was some freaky freshman exercise.
26)The sort of getting-to-know-you thing that I love now but despised at the time.
27)Anyway, this summer I was at... I don't even know, someone's bridal shower or bachelorette party or whatever (we held most of them at the same place) and Lynne asked me how I was.
28)I was like, "I'm really happy. I think I'm happier now than I've ever been, actually."
29)It's a funny thing, being that happy. Because it means that there are also days when I'm really sad, angry, frustrated, exhilirated, overjoyed.
30)I was just reading in some famous person's book that the real disease today isn't any of these things we keep labeling our kids with or writing self-help books about or sending people to therapy for.
31)The real disease is boredom. People lock their feelings away, they refuse to truly engage with the people around them for fear of being hurt.
32)So we go through life comfortable but numb. We can't get our hearts broken, but we can't let them soar, either, because to do one is to risk the other.
33)And we do these ridiculously dangerous things because "it's the only time I feel alive".
34)Actually, I do ridiculously dangerous things for the hell of it, but regardless, I think there's a lot of merit to that.
35)So I'm trying to participate in my life. I'm trying to actually live it, instead of just get through from one day to the next.
36)And what I find is that actually, it's a lot of fun.
37)I've been wishing that I could go back, not to do college again, but just to talk to myself during that first creepy, depressing year.
38)Really just the first semester, actually, to reassure myself that it's okay.
39)It's all good, it's going to be good, you're going to like it.
40)This is the right place for you. You just don't know it yet.
41)I was thinking about it this morning as I drove past sun-soaked fields and stainglass leaves, wondering what exactly I would do if I could go back for a day.
42)I'd give myself a hug, I think. It's going to be all right, I'd say.
43)And all of a sudden, pulling up to a stop sign, I realized.
44)Brady did that.
45)Brady told me it would be all right. Brady hugged me, cheered me up, saw me every morning and told me it was going to be a good day.
46)Brady loved everything. She always thought the weather was awesome, no matter what it was, and she always had a grin on her face.
47)Sitting at the stop sign this morning, I was struck by the thought, "What if I did go back?
48)"Brady then was a lot like me now. What would I have done that she didn't do? Nothing, that's what.
49)"What if Brady was me?"