Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Now What?

Yes, that is the question: Now what? My idle hands are anxious. This semester was, undoubtedly, the hardest I’ve ever worked for a class. Organic I was brutal, and now I sit on tenterhooks waiting for the final grade postings. If I pulled an A on the final, I’ll have an A in the class; if not, I’ll have to settle for the first B of my life. Which is a bit ridiculous, when you think about it, and the sooner this perfectionist streak is broken, the better for my health, but still—it’s the principle of the thing.

What did I learn? Hard work. Hours. Patience. Practice. Teamwork. All things that should have been obvious from the get-go, but apparently not so much for me. A D on the first test sobered me up quick. It’s not about Organic, though, it’s about the sort of mindset I should have. Don’t sweat the trivial, but don’t give up in the face of adversity—all lessons far bigger than some stupid class I’ll have completely forgotten in a few years’ time.

I’m exhausted. My sentences are short, choppy, barely coherent. I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I’ve beaten myself down unnecessarily over the past few months, a foolish decision that’s led to nothing but severe back pain. Gah. John Keats: “Oh soothest Sleep, if so it please thee, close, in the midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes.” Why do we make ourselves so miserable?

But now is a time of rest, relaxation, and recharging. A month of pause, with no scholastic obligations (save prepping for Organic II). I’ll work some, make a little money to pay off the horse, get caught back up with Jack Kerouac and Kahlil Gibran (how I’ve missed them!), enjoy the holidays, contemplate the New Year, eat until I bust my casing….

Thinking back to Thanksgiving, now, a week that I spent in cien horas de soledad. My parents were out of state visiting family; I was alone with the horses. On Thanksgiving Day I didn’t see a single other human being. I went a little crazy, just that fast in isolation—had some nice conversations with a few Red Tailed Hawks before I shook myself awake. Got up at five each morning to tend to the horses, then did a few hours of chores, turned my attention to paper-writing and studying for a few more hours, went to work, then back to chores, back to studying, sleep a few hours, repeat.

Five-thirty in the morning, pitch black. Cold, too, breath freezing in panted wisps. Cracking the slivered pointed shards of ice, plunging hand into water until it burns so cold that intense pain and dull numbness ensue. And, from all around, a chorus of coyotes in surround sound. Two packs, east and west, yipping and howling, all too near, an eerie, primal sound that stops me with instinctive fear, adrenaline. Some nearby dogs start up, too, and the neighbor’s rooster, predicting dawn, a symphony with a half-mile radius. How’s that for an experience?

Gave my zebra finches, whom I’ve had since third grade, to a favorite professor today for her daughter. I’ll miss their constant singing and cute little perch-hopping, but I guess they’ll make some little animal-crazy but mammal-allergic five-year-old happy. Got a new dog this weekend, too. Went on Petfinder and searched for an Adorable Beloved Dachshund for my parents. Found a shelter with 100 dogs and 22 cats all in need of homes, so happy to see us, barking and purring and jumping in their cages. Poor castaways. Picked out Suki fka Frances, and the rest is history. Cute little bugger, but pretty much devoid of personality. All she wants to do is curl up in a lap and sleep all day long.

Last night I set a few books and assorted paraphernalia out to study one last time, then shuffled off to find something to eat. I returned in time to snatch the above picture. That ain’t gonna fly, pooch.


secret agent woman said...

Aw, he's trying to help.

Mozart said...

She's warming up a bit, thankfully, but she's still the biggest baby in the world. As long as she's being held in a warm lap, she's the happiest thing alive.