Musings on a Winter Day

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dear Snow,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for finally coming!  I never expected to miss you so much, but winter has been barren and bleak without you, and Christmas just wasn’t Christmas in your absence.  I haven’t even minded scraping you off my car in the morning.  From the moment I woke up on Friday and found the world covered in white, I’ve been feeling a lot more hopeful about life.  It’s so soft and bright outside and so cozy inside that everything just seems nicer, somehow, and it feels right, like things are falling into place.  This is how Buffalo should be in January—so thank you for making it happen.

I spent today under my bed, digging around in boxes of old papers and writing and mementos and emerging dusty with nostalgia.  I started out looking for some DVDs I’d lost (which, miraculously, I found!), but I was also looking for answers to my life.  Rilke told me yesterday, as we were chatting on the subway, that I needed to stop looking outside myself for these answers—they’re probably not going to come from the internet or from random people I meet.  (Okay, he wasn’t really there, but I had grabbed Letters to a Young Poet on my way out the door, and I found a passage that read: “Of course you must know that every letter of your will always give me pleasure, and only bear with the answer which will perhaps often leave you empty-handed; for at bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone, and for one person to be able to advise or even help another, a lot must happen, a lot must go well, a whole constellation of things must come right in order once to succeed,” and another passage that read: “here I feel that no human being anywhere can answer for you those questions and feelings that deep within them have a life of their own; for even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things. […] You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.”)  So what I was saying before I started babbling about quotes is that it seemed reasonable to start figuring out my life by reminding myself how I got from who I have been to who I am now: thus, perusing my old writing.

I unearthed things that I do not reread very often.  I have journals I’ve kept dating back to tenth grade, and I have my yearbooks and whatever writing I saved on the computer, but I’m pretty familiar with all of that.  Today I found my writing notebook from the fourth grade, my high school agendas, seven calendars on which I’d written down everything I’d done on every single day from 2001 to 2007 (OCD much?), poetry notebooks, and a whole bunch of notebooks with no stated purpose that I just used for random things, which were pretty interesting.  In one notebook (which contained mostly fragments of stories and poems), I found a page that was folded in half lengthwise so that I had to unfold it to read it.  It said: “God I can’t wait to get out of this school/out of this damn place/boring & psychotic hellish place/give me air, ~life~, love, freedom, understanding, what’s real & good & true & natural & beautiful/where? where? where?/are the people who get it?/Does anyone?/Where?/Take me.”  So I was basically angsting about being trapped in high school instead of being out on the world having adventures and experiencing life, love, etc… and I realized that when I was younger, I blamed that ‘trapped’ feeling on being stuck in school and assumed that school was the only thing holding me back from living the life I wanted to live.  Now that I’m older I know that it’s more complicated than that—I still want basically the same things, but I know that it takes a lot more than not being in school to get there.

(There was going to be more to this, but I never finished it and now I’m not in the mood anymore.  However, I would like to add that as I am posting this, I am really digging the song “Bobcaygeon” by The Tragically Hip, and you should check it out.  Grooveshark or YouTube—take your pick.)