Today was the last day of classes. Like, the last day.
At least, it was supposed to be. But this morning, my only class was canceled (one other being canceled and another not meeting on purpose).
Unless something pretty major changes in my life, I will not be a student in a class at school ever again. How exactly did I get here, again? Not that I’m not ready to be done with this phase of my life. Just…that I’m not quite ready to begin the next. Awks on my friends who have already gotten on with it. Or who are also graduating this year. What are we doing with out lives. It doesn’t help, of course, that the world is conspiring to ensure that I’m unemployed. Would that I had a job. But I’ll keep applying places because that’s really all you can do. Here’s hoping.
Still have some work to do, namely two papers and a poster. And, obviously, my dissertation (but we’re not thinking about that just now). It’ll be grand, right? Anyway, on to the rant of the week.
Yesterday morning, walking to school, it was a beautiful day but a trifle windy. And in that wind, great swirls of trash buffeted my feet and shins. Consistently, walking to school or the grocery store (or really anywhere from my house), I must maintain constant vigilance with each step in order to avoid the ever-present dog poop and occasional human vomit. Also, when it’s raining, the festering piles of partially decayed paper goop. Now let me say, this is not a uniform problem across Dublin and obviously Dublin is not the only place with these problems. But I’m only living in one place at the moment and it’s undeniably a massive issue in my immediate surrounds. It’s also an issue that I’m not really accustomed to.
Growing up, there was honestly not much litter. And certainly not public dog poop just hanging out on the sidewalk. There are fines and signs here, but no one seems to care. I don’t feel like my parents or teachers are loony, tree-hugging envirocrazies, but from a very young age, in basically every situation, I was raised to be mindful of the world around me. I want to say it was drilled into me, but it wasn’t really. Most of the time, it sort of went without saying. It didn’t take any thought to turn off the lights when you left a room, or recycle, or not litter. That was just the way it was done. I mean, not everyone who lives in Gig Harbor is a wonderful recycler and composter and so on but it is, I feel, a prevailing civic mindset. And it just makes me sad to walk down the street and see how disgusting it is. Like, all the time. Of course, I’m not really doing much to help and that’s part of the problem too. I don’t contribute to it, but I don’t help solve it either. Ugh, it’s just dumb. It’s a massive task to solve the world’s environmental issues. But there’s nothing massive about proper waste disposal, recycling, composting, turning off the lights, carpooling, and just generally taking an interest in the place you live.
Anyway. I won’t give you the whole academese blah-blah-blah about constructivism and the power of norms ect. ect. ect. but I will give you an awkward transition.
I didn’t realize that April is actually National Poetry Month (in the US, at least). How unwittingly apropos of me. This week’s selection is a tender sonnet by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. I recently came across it and memorized it almost straight away. It’s a response of sorts to an earlier poem (Willowwood–in particular, part III) by her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, quoting a line as the poem’s epigraph. Apparently, the two were rather close and collaborated on a variety of projects. Anyway, this poem is an achingly beautiful reflection of love lost and I’d like to share it with you.
An Echo from Willowwood
“Oh ye, all ye who walk in willow-wood.”
Two gaz’d into a pool, he gaz’d and she,
Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I think,
Pale and reluctant on the water’s brink
As on the brink of parting which must be.
Each eyed the other’s aspect, she and he,
Each felt one hungering heart leap up and sink,
Each tasted bitterness which both must drink,
There on the brink of life’s dividing sea.
Lilies upon the surface, deep below
Two wistful faces craving each for each,
Resolute and reluctant without speech:—
A sudden ripple made the faces flow
One moment join’d, to vanish out of reach:
So these hearts join’d, and ah! were parted so.