A universe that includes you
can't be all bad, but
does it? At this distance
you're a mirage, a glossy image
fixed in the posture
of the last time I saw you.
-Margaret Atwood, "Postcards"
I was thinking today, and I realized that sophomore year may have been my most formative year of college. Granted, all of them have been formative -- such a big abstract word encompassing so much of life! -- in different ways, and I say that with much of senior year still to go. But in that second year, I was hit with a lot of changes, alterations, lessons, new knowledge, new pain, new joy, epiphanies, realizations. They never appeared all at once; some smacked me quickly across the face, others took their sweet time, clicking in my brain months down the road. I realized that college is continuous, that the awkwardness and enlightenment and hilarity that is freshman year builds on itself, starts to create a history, but leaves you floating in a completely different place as you wave goodbye to your parents for that second autumn. Wonderful people arrive, new to campus or new to your eyes and ears. Even if I didn't want to learn it, I was taught that relationships fade for reasons sometimes too deep to reach right at that moment (cue the slow trudge of trying to understand), and solace and heartwholeness can be found in a white painted youth house and singing, laughter, prayer, and -- most unexpectedly, most delightfully, a warm bright 5000 smushedseat basketball arena always with a friend (you,you,you) by my side. I learned on a long journey, maybe the strongest way I've ever felt it, that joy can come from seventeen down, that it creates and recreates itself, manifestations that don't end with buzzers and opportunities(the shot that was)taken(so much given). The smallest moment (could be the four-point play) leads to the next and the next and it's new, stages phases months and years, but it's the same. Transformation jubilation flowing from the same source.
I started the process of understanding that maybe you have to leave the place you love most for awhile in order to come back and love it more. (Didn't finish understanding that one for awhile, and am about to embark on a new part of that very same whole.)
And two years ago, I learned -- again -- that sometimes emotion just slams itself into your heartbodysoul and becomes fact, fact that might someday wisp back into memory or fact that stays true and you don't feel right without it.
Still don't feel right without it.