Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain and a Garden and Graduation

It's been a week since I graduated from Penn State. I've changed my blog description. The "signatures" on my emails no longer have "English major candidate." My little brother greeted me after one ceremony with, "Hello, English Nerd."

I felt it to be a profound compliment.

But mostly, life feels the same, other than the heavy dullness that has settled over my unroutined life. I am terrible at maintaining routine without sufficient reason to motivate me. I am without reason or motivation so my life has consisted of watching movie after movie with my sisters this week from "Boy in the Stripped Pajamas" to "Funny Face."

Friday, I returned to State College and Patty's Place and our small summer community. We live small lives together in this Valley during the summers. Meals together, sleeping outside when we can, movies, bottles of wine in the grass on warm nights, shared music and garden spades, wishing each other well in work and work searches. My job(s) for the Hemingway Letters project and the writing center don't begin this coming week but the next, so I have spent the last twenty four hours with friends and a stack of books waist high from the book sale (Side note from reading: Susan Orlean's ability to describe people astonishes me).

But the joy of the day was several hours sitting in the sun that has now disappeared under the threat of an early summer rain (is it summer? Or is it spring still?) with Melanie. We went over the details of life that we have gone over a hundred times before and weeding. Yes, weeding. My housemates Rachel and Sarah have planted vegetables in the small plot behind our house and the vines were threatening there small starts. Parka lent us a spade that he had borrowed from Pastor Ben and we took turns fighting off the roots of an intense vine that had also managed to curl its way around almost every stem of the rose plant (who knew we had a rose plant?). The dirt was like wet and heavy clay after all the rain this past week and we broke it in our fingers, picking out fragments of vine roots that refused to come to us whole.

Perhaps it is cliche. I am very sure it is. Graduating has made me think about growing, specifically "growing up." How things grow, what makes them what they are, how did they come into existence and exist just so. Many important things seemed to have happened accidentally. I became by growing through whatever the earth around me gave to pushes and attempts to move and change. The accidents inspire the most gratitude, somehow.

A garden feels so much like an intentional accident. Green things, once grown, feel inevitable. Maybe its why they are so comforting to be around: with proper attention, they become when we're not watching. An living wonder. The growth of any thing is a wonder. Perhaps "wonder" is what I mean by accident at all. Quiet and astonishing: the smell of dirt caught under my nails and on my clothes and the first breeze of another State College rainstorm.

Graduating is a strange way to mark the passage of time. It was just bizarre. But the passage of time needed to be marked so I will accept the strange gown and cap and medal and the vocab change from "I study English" to "I studied." Graduating: a strange accident, a wonder, with who knows quite what I will become next.

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