I don't have a new experience this week. So I suppose I broke my resolution. I was hoping that every week I would do something interesting and new, but I haven't. Some weeks you just want to lie in your bed and rewatch Parks and Rec. Some weeks you don't want to do that, but you do it anyway, because you suck.
So I've been trying to come up with something to write about for this post. I tried to go out last-minute and find something to do on campus. The play I wanted to go to sold out, the Activities Council forgot about the weekly movie AGAIN, I was too late for the a capella group, etc. So now I'm sitting on a bench on the North (or South? I can't keep track) Lawn, underneath a blooming magnolia tree underneath the clear night sky. I didn't know that this tree was a magnolia tree until all the snow melted and it became spring. Trees are like that: all year you forget who they are, and then you pay attention to them when they're in bloom. For a while now I've thought I wanted to be buried under a magnolia tree. After a while, there would be no one left to visit my grave, but in the springtime, children would play under the petals of the tree. (That is, if their parents let them play in graveyards. Which they would be silly not to. Graveyards aren't dangerous.)
Sitting under the tree makes me think about spring. Which is certainly not a new experience. I'm thinking about whatever season it is most of the time. I've been writing poems about spring, for my conference project. It isn't anything new. Flowers have started coming up in the woods. They aren't new either. They're perennials, they come every year. But it makes me happy to see them. It's not that winter is bad and spring is good or anything like that. But I love spring anyway. You wouldn't think that spring is my favorite season, if you don't really know me, which to me it seems nobody really does, since everyone relies on cliches and caricatures when they talk about me. Ariel the Antisocial Introvert Who Only Likes School and Never Wants to Date a Boy Because Angry Feminism Grrr. Why would I like spring, the season of feminine flowers, instead of angsty winter or creepy autumn? Besides the fact that I don't hate femininity for the last freaking time, I don't just like spring because it's pretty. I like it because to me it is the season of hope. A tree in winter goes through so much suffering, or whatever the plant equivalent of suffering is. If the snowfall does not come early enough, and the ground freezes, the tree might die. There is a certain point where a tree goes into this phase that I forgot the scientific name for so I just call it "hardcore mode" which basically means it freezes itself to survive. Animals suffer, too. They must trust that no one has stolen the hoards they made, if they're hoarding animals like squirrels, and they must venture out of their shivering, huddling nests to find food. Insects freeze and die. Birds go through the difficult journey of migration. Were I a tree, or a squirrel, or a bird, and I had the capacity for hope, I would not have any hope that winter would end. And I think that for all of us humans there comes a point in the winter where we don't believe that the winter will end, either.
But it does end. And then there are daffodils and violets in the woods, and the grass is green, and the trees are blooming and you remember that there is such a thing as magnolias. All the wonderful things in the world become evident again. How could you have forgotten them? How could you have lost hope?
That's why I love spring- because I have lost hope for more things in my life than the end of winter, but hope, ignoring my despair, never failed me. Like in the words of my favorite poem: And sweetest in the gale is heard/ And sore must be the storm/ That could abash the little bird/ That kept so many warm. The little bird, reminder of the spring, can sing in the winter too.
It feels sometimes, when I do nothing, when I procrastinate, when I get stuck in depression, like I'm never going to stop. Like I'm never going to get out. Like the entire world is made out of my sadness and nothing beautiful exists. I don't know what I'm supposed to do when I feel that kind of despair. I try to remind myself that I've felt this way before and I was wrong, but it's not very helpful. I have to do something to remind myself. I have to create a little spring. I don't know what creating a little spring would entail, but it would probably include writing, reading, going outside, seeing the flowers, talking to friends. Remembering that the bare-branched tree of the world is actually a magnolia tree after all.
Probably should have done what I meant to do at the beginning of this post and put a "sappy post ahead" warning, but that would be lame, I guess. It's much darker out now and I keep seeing people pass by to go to the Sleaze Ball, which starts in an hour. I'm not entirely sure what the Sleaze Ball is but you know, maybe I don't want to know. This campus is always weird but sometimes it's like weird-squared.
Anyway, thanks for putting up with my thoughts. Not sure what I'll put on the new experience list. I guess I'll put "saw a magnolia tree on my campus." Sure. That counts.
See you Wednesday,