Despite all the promises we made (we'll never forget this night these walks the way the wind circles around us the droplets of light the dailiness of our joy) these moments slip back into consciousness, elbowing me, whispering "remember me? do you remember?"
Most days I am unaware of time passing. Suddenly I am not chasing fireflies anymore. Suddenly my two front teeth are gone; suddenly there they are again. Now I am catching tadpoles, baking bread, sewing quilts; now I am watching the monarch butterflies in great clumps of movement in the trees. Suddenly I have peach juice sticky down my face, on my fingers; suddenly I am making peach pie, peach cobbler, peach fruit leather; suddenly the peach tree is barren. Now I have three sisters, and now a brother, and now another (will it never end?). Suddenly I speak; suddenly the world awaits.
Suddenly the day is done; suddenly two weeks of senior year are gone.
I think of Thoreau's deliberate and Dillard's wakeful awareness and Marilyn McEntyre's long looking; these words I have lived by, hoped to grow old in, to fit into like a favorite sweater. And yet I stand here forgetful, wakeful, aware more so than ever of what has been and is no longer.
So much change surrounds these days. I walk through the campus, wide-awake to my memories. I try to notice what I used to notice. In my head, I picture old faces in places that don't exist anymore. I see bare dirt where beautiful trees once thrived. I hear construction when I used to hear birdsong and see orange tape where I used to see green wilderness. I walk and feel, I walk and recite lines of poetry and song like a broken record, I walk and notice how my way of thought has shifted, and again, and again, these past years. The end is coming, and here again the beginning presses in on my consciousness.
In broad daylight, I walk through the VK parking lot, and think of the fog rolling in, headlights, the silhouette of a girl talking on a cell phone. Not the walk back to Armington; now it is the walk from Country Club to Ocean View.
In Reynolds, we have new poems from the underground hung on the walls. One is Feste's song. I know the backstory to this poster; what were the backstories to the old posters?
I never step into the DC anymore. There is too much glass; too many new bright lights and fancy decorations; too few familiar faces. Remember our five o'clock dinners that lasted til seven or later?
These are not constants. All is shifting, all is changing, but the changes help me see more clearly what I had at one point in time. This was my time and now the time is running out. I have looked and noticed, lost so much, hurt, claimed joy as my own, taken captive moments of absolute perfection.
This place is mine; I have loved it deeply enough. And I am learning that that is enough. That this place was never mine enough for me to control. That I can release my grip with confidence and gratefulness. That this place is like me, unrecognizable on the surface, under construction, burned and bare, but growing still, alive still, fundamentally the same as it always has been.