Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Countdown

Sunday August 21, 2016

I remember that six years ago, in the fall I wore a vaguely pirate-like getup to the customary pictures and dinner before a high school dance. (We’ll maybe it wasn’t exactly vague–there was definitely an eye patch and huge fake gold earring involved.) Oh, if fifteen-year-old me only knew.

Monday August 22, 2016

When is too early to pack? Too late?

I wonder this as I look at my still empty suitcase. I have a whole week left at home.

Spending month away from home is no time at all, I think. I’ve packed for longer trips at least five times. I’m practically a packing expert. I’m not worried about the empty suitcase.

I’m not worried at all.

Tuesday August 23, 2016

I still haven’t packed and the blog still has no name.

I texted a friend of mine, who goes to school on the other end of the country from me, for ideas. She’s basically got the entirety of Moby-Dick (and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a zillion other texts) held tightly in her mind, ready to be called upon for a complicated thematic analysis at the drop of a hat. I figure she knows some cool, sea-y quotes.

Some of her ideas were

  • “It’s not down on any map; true places never are” from Moby-Dick
  • “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…”  also Moby-Dick
  • “The sea is everything.” 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • “The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite” also 20,000 Leagues. And my fave.

So Living Infinite it is. The title already came with capital letters. And a sense of bigness. (And pretentiousness perhaps–but c’mon with “nothing but love and emotion” nestled in there, that’s a gorgeous quote!) And so, this endeavor has a title and a focus, too, maybe.

Thursday August 25, 2016

I went swimming. In a pool. First time all summer. It was good to know that I had not in fact forgotten how to swim.

Friday August 26, 2016

Like usual, I need a haircut. But what’s the right kind of haircut to take out to sea?

I eventually go with cutting it shorter than I’ve worn it for years, channeling the brave heroines I read a lot about when I was ten or twelve or twenty. Maybe I won’t need quite the courage they needed. After all, I don’t exactly plan on finding myself saving the world, but, hey, anything helps. Even if it’s just a haircut that channels the favorite book character of my younger self.

In the afternoon, I go to the Minnesota State Fair and look at award winning cakes and pies and big momma pigs and lambs about to give birth. And eat half a dozen cookies piled into a paper cone and ice cream freshly made and apple cider frozen into a popsicle.

It’s cool out this August afternoon. The sky is bleak and cloudy. Tonight it will rain. The fairgrounds are big, and we wander for a few hours. My feet scuff the pavement and dodge horse manure. And I say goodbye again to the Midwest, to flat ground hemmed in by trees and highways and sometimes sky scrappers, to the jumbled up mix of green ground and leaf and grey concrete and wall that is the primary color of this urban forest, to talking in the driveway at the end of the night, a goodbye stretched as long as possible, to my dogs in all their limping and aged glory. And I wonder what it will be like to say goodbye to dry land eventually, too.

The sun sets. It is purple. And I still have one more day here.

Saturday August 27, 2016

I’m packed. Finally. See? Nothing to worry about. (It only took making a last minute list, switching up my suitcases a couple of times, and tracking down some missing bed linens.)

Last dinner with my family. Odd that it seems so Important. It’s not like I haven’t spent any number of semesters away from home by now. It’s not like I haven’t left here before. But maybe it’s that I’m not as used to having an unfamiliar destination. And this time I leave a home of 21+ years for a place that is not yet (though might someday feel kind of like) home.

I drive my younger brother to a friend’s house. We say goodbye in the driveway. He disappears inside, two days away from starting his last year of high school.

In one day, I’ll be in Boston, catching up with my aunt and uncle. A day after that, Woods Hole. And classes and new people and a school that is not-Whitman.

Hm. I’m going to have to remember how to write an essay. But that, among other worries, is something to leave for later.