Make believe dancing in my grandmother's parlor
Life here has felt like a mixture of intense things, both hurtful and pleasurable. I have a harder time remembering the pleasurable ones, because they seem to be tied to the weather. Good dry days sweep me out, humid days loosen my insides, cold days make me brisk and rapid in my movements, rainy days make me contemplative. I appreciate the weather, and feel it intensely, but no one remembers the weather from day to day. It just fades away.
There have been other good feelings, too. I lie in bed and read myself to sleep with poems, and then shut my eyes with the lights still on and set my book on my chest and try to imagine that it is the cat. It's not, it's just Yeats, but I can pretend that I hear my cat exhaling close to my face, sitting very small on my sternum.
One night I even finished all of my homework, and the feeling was beautiful because it is so rare.
I am deeply homesick. On the day of Equilibrium, I went for a walk that was so miserable I kept stifling urges to dive into the woods or do something drastic and explosive. The whole time, I tried to pin down what it is that is making me so upset with the area of the lower 48 in which I must live for a year and a half more. It is a few things: the estates are rich and splendid, but there are no parks, there is no open space. There is no wilderness, or anything that vaguely resembles wilderness. My friends say "Why don't you just go into Fairmont Park," but that is not wilderness. I want to be alone, away from the crush of people, away from pavement and the red sky.
The town is entirely dependant upon cars, and they drive fast and without any restraint. I harbor suspicions that they all speed up when they see me coming. There are trees, but the land is landscaped within an inch of its life. There are disgustingly huge estates, and ugly expensive looking houses. I spent most of my walk cursing the mercedes that drove like I wasn't on the road. I don't mind walking through residential neighborhoods, but even the quiet roads are busy with cars, and there are no sidewalks.
Last night was terrible. I walked through the darkening neighborhood, feeling increasingly ill at ease. I shouldn't have stayed out so late, but I tried to be unafraid. Even when it was light out, it was chilled and dark on the streets. It felt like my grandmother's parlor, and the air was heavy.
When I came back to campus, I passed through the campus center, which is like a radiant castle, lit up like a lantern. I passed through the doors and onto the quadrangle, and immediately felt relieved to be back, safe and sound.
Today, while waiting for the bus, I talked with a girl who is from Vermont. "The foliage here is so pathetic," she said and I leapt at the chance to commiserate with a displaced Yankee. "Oh, the apples! I miss the apples!" she said, and I beamed at her. "I like crisp, juicy ones, none of this mealy crap, or the thick skinned Granny Smiths they serve at the dining hall."
"State fairs, foliage, apples, stars at night, pastureland..." I began to list all the things I miss. Why did I even leave? Did I love it so much then? No, I love my school, I just wish it were in the woods and fields of New England.
I have been sleeping poorly. I blame the drugs, and the forced break from exercising. (I sit around trying to think of things I can blame, eh?) I can't fall asleep and then I can't wake up. I had been meaning to wake early, four or five, and go watch the sunrise. Maybe it seems silly to plan these things, and perhaps they should be spontaneous to be "authentic" or whatever, but I wanted to watch the sunrise and was willing to plan to make it so. I went to bed at 9:30 and woke at 7, cursing and annoyed that the sun was already up. I have been exhausted, having miserable dreams, and just not getting enough sleep regularly. I occasionally entertain fantasies where I go to sleep all the time, sleeping away my time. I read a source for my German class that spoke of the way the unemployed people in Germany during the depression slept their days away, and I read it with rapt attention. They slept away the cold, they just tried to pass the time. I shouldn't feel this way, my life is fine, my life is busy and I am not suffering for a lack of things to do, but I had a fascination with that passage and wanted to feel it.
I am reading too much love poetry. I don't even like the kind of love my Renaissance poems speak of, it's nothing but chastity and purity and love refused. Gluck is often speaking of love failed, and that can't be much better. I want poetry that is of people made whole, not destroyed. I probably want a break of love poetry, but I would need something else to put me to sleep at nights.
I sit around in my classes wishing that I could dance with someone (I admit, a man!), as though I could dance well. I sit there in class and think about how nice this would be, and start smiling and humming when I should be thinking about the Gospel of Thomas. Palm to palm - there is this one move my father does that I cannot remember or replicate.
2002-09-24, My grandmother's parlor
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