Thanksgiving


I am sitting in the sun, just a tiny bit chilly. Around my table, the leaves are falling and swirling like snow. The birds are making a racket. An upbeat Irish dance is playing on Pandora, and I am making progress on my homework. I could not ask for a better Saturday. I watched a movie last night. Slept in. Had freshly grilled brats (of the non-human type) for lunch. Good discussion with my best friend about the Christian philosophy of music – thankfully, we’re still friends! Looking forward to a few hours of work this evening, another movie, and hopefully more progress on my homework (computer program – it should only take a total of 10-12 hours).

I’m not sure I could ask for a better Saturday.

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A Death-Tinged Fall


Literature intersects life at all points. This semester, my literature class talks about death. A lot. I don’t know that it’s necessarily my teacher’s intention…it just happens. For example, studying Keats is almost impossible to accomplish without discussing death. Today, we read and discussed “Ode to Autumn.” Autumn is a predecessor of winter, which is symbolic of death. Keats talks about sunsets too, classic symbols of death. Is that morbid? Not really. The entire point of the poem is that we don’t have to be scared of death. Also, death doesn’t have to overshadow beauty.

Why does all this talk of death matter to me? It matters because it doesn’t. At one point, dealing with death would have resonated deeply within me. It would have touched the cord my whole being was wrapped around. Now it matters because I understand all of Keats’ concerns about dying young, but because I am distant from them. I almost always associate death with depression. Regardless of the dying person and situation, someone is depressed (in most cases). And depression is something I understand. For a significant portion of my high school years, I struggled with depression. Not always at the same level – sometimes not so bad, other times much, much worse – but always present, weighing my every thought and action. Eventually it went away. I don’t have a spectacular story about a person or event or miraculously snapping out of it. Just slowly but surely, the depression disappeared. I still remember though. The overwhelming sense of drowning. The intense desire just to lay down and never, ever wake up. The complete lack of hope. The feeling of perpetual exhaustion…

If anything is a problem in college, it’s exhaustion. I try to use my time wisely and get enough rest. I try not to stay up all night studying. But it still happens. Some days, I remember what depression feels like. I taste the hopelessness, the complete apathy, the impossibility of mustering any energy. I am the lucky one. I know it will pass. I will sleep, pass that test, finish that project. I will wake up in the morning back to normal. But I know that so many around me will not. They are not just exhausted. They are drowning, lost in a world of grey apathy. Sleeping for hours won’t solve their problem. And that makes me so sad. It is a helpless thing, watching someone else in depression. Having no control whatsoever to pull them out…it makes my heart break.

Statistically, there are probably at least one or two people in my literature class suffering from depression. Likely several more of you read my blog. I don’t have an answer for you. I can’t tell you how to change that or how to cope. I will say this: there are people here for you. People understand. And please, please, no matter how attractive it seems, don’t make death the answer. Death has its place…but it is not the solution for depression. Read Keats. May your fall be full of beauty, even under the shadow of death.

Limbo (Also: I might be crazy)


After 1 entire week of no job or classes, I am back at school. I came early for work training, but that’s all over today. Classes don’t start until Wednesday. Work doesn’t start until Monday. It’s just me, alone in my dorm room, with nothing to do.

That’s not quite true. I have books I could read, paperwork I could fill out, organizing I could do, and naps I could take. But I have nothing I must do. And it feels so weird….

I forget how to function when I don’t have a demanding schedule. When my mind is not full of a never-ending task list. I can’t sleep at night, because I’m not exhausted. I could read…but without looming deadlines to make that recreational reading seem precious, I have no desire. It has been like this since I left my full-time job at home a week ago. I didn’t even pack until the day before I left, because there was no urgency.

I am ready for school to start. I want schedules, syllabi, textbooks, an agenda. I thrive on meeting deadlines and completing assignments. I am crazy.

Happy thoughts


As if anyone needs something new to read about fall….here are the happy things about fall here at college!

1. The smell of crushed acorns. Does that sound weird? I actually started noticing this at home. I walk my dog a lot during the fall and there are a couple of oak trees that hang right over the road. There was always a carpet of leaves and crayon like acorn on the pavement….and it smells heavenly! Very nutty and fall-like. There just happens to be a huge oak right over the road behind my dorm here at school! Every time I walk by I just take really deep breaths and miss home. And my puppy dog. I miss him a lot.

2. Falling leaves. There are leaves all over the roads here. It has been quite windy the last several days, so they are constantly blowing around in the air. If you have read Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper trilogy, blowing leaves remind me of the dust spinners. I love seeing leaves swirling in the air…like a fairy dance of sorts.

3. Warm classrooms! This may sound odd….but the buildings here are all freezing. Seriously. The first couple weeks of classes, I would not leave my dorm without some sort of sweater. But when it’s cold, the classrooms and buildings are warm! Not that I like it cold…but if it has to be, that is a positive result. 🙂

What are your favorites aspects of fall?