Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Haven’t been blogging much of late, I know.  Not much is happening other than reading awesome books, sleeping till noon in my bed-fort, and prepping for my Oklahoma transition.  People want to hear about events, yes?  Not mental masturbations.  That’s pretty much all I’m doing these days, readng and pondering as the weather warms and I incubate before teaching.  

The protests in Madison keep building and falling, growing and declining as the anger bursts in fits and starts.  It’s exhausting.  It’s maddeningly frustrating.  And then there are revolutions in the Middle East.  And the US just pseudo-invaded Lybia.  The federal budget is cutting funding for every good and noble thing in America, I guess.  And there was a record-breaking earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 

The world has gone insane.  It makes my normal pursuits–ie medieval history–seem like frivolity, to be honest.  Who cares about medieval history?  I do.  But I also don’t.  I can’t.  I went to a cafe after class a couple of weeks ago, to spend my ritualistic two hours reading something medieval–in this case Sister of Wisdom: St. Hildegard’s Theology of The Femine by Barbara Newman.  Wrapped around a chai latte, three pages into a chapter on God, Sex, and fertility (which you think would hold my interest), I had to give up.  My mind, for the first time ever I guess, just isn’t in the past anymore.

Since then, I’ve been reading books about global marketing and Afghanistan and watching films about India and Tibet.  I’ve been tuning into online radio from China and Iran.  Who am I?  What is happening?  It’s kind of terrifying.  It’s kind of exhilarating.  Why do I feel so strangely hopeful?

Usually, when the world seems to be dead-set on destroying itself, my way of coping is snuggling up with a good history book and dreaming about grad school and maybe the view from my future library, overlooking an organic farm.  But things are too up-close and personal to ignore these days.  Their proximity and the knowledge that soon I will be fighting the so-called good fight against illiterate ignoramuses like the ones we currently have in office is making me, for once, not afraid of the wider world but excited about embracing it.   

My frustration culminated a couple of days ago when I was taking a lap around the Capitol Square after getting breakfast with a friend, and I saw the grass around the Capitol for the first time since the most recent protest.  It’s nonexistent.  It’s disgusting.  The Capitol Green, scene of innumerable lazy afternoons and concerts and bar-time schenanigans is an enormous, muddy mess, trampled by the feet of 200,000 angry protesters. 

I can’t go to grad school and spend my days wearing tweed and learning Latin when we don’t even have grass around the Capitol.

It’s not that I don’t still love medieval history.  It’s not that those same topics don’t fascinate me.  It’s not that I don’t plan dissertation topics in my spare time, you know, for fun.  It’s just that I know now I’d be miserable learning and researching about the past without spending a hefty chunk of my life seriously engrossed in the present.  So now instead of dreaming about libraries at Oxford, I dream about teaching high schoolers.  And when I exhaust that option, I dream about farming in France (through WOOFF) and then walking another part of the Camino.  And after that, I dream about the Peace Corps. 

I dream about paying off my loans, traveling, living free and unencumbered from everything except people.  If the world is bent on taking a turn for the worst, I think there may actually be a place for me out there, helping to prevent it.


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~ by Rachael on March 20, 2011.

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