The Cracks of Light Between.

Life is full, full, full, and I desperately keep billowing the dusty curtains of time to let in a small amount of light. What kind of routine have I landed upon, where I can’t find the time to write down my thoughts and feelings on a regular basis? What kind of system have I created, where my only definable pattern is to complain about my lack of time in which to live and to flourish? Oh, how I want to detail great adventures, recite epic experiences, and recall titillating conversations, which just a short time ago were everyday occurrences! Gods, how I would love to expose my inner demons and weigh the ethics of nature and emotion with words carefully crafted and heartily considered! This is why the siren’s cry of higher academia arouses such a wanton slut of desire. This is why the student’s life is so riddled with memorable stories and lifelong nostalgia. There is no solely repetitive pattern of wash and rinse, work and sleep. Oblique cognitive challenges form the mainstay of collegiate existence – looking at things piecemeal, delicately placing them in your mouth and tasting subtle, delicate flavors seemingly unheeded by the mundane palate. Considering and commenting upon fascinating morsels of information that 98% of the world finds stultifyingly boring. Making a difference with your mind, and adding to the precious collective knowledge of the world with your passions and investigations.

But what kind of man would I be to not recognize the other half? The other half which I currently take inside me, fluttering about like a once-singed moth maniacally seeking to escape its fleshy prison? I do recognize it, and I own it entirely. This is my struggle, and I fight the rending that happens inside of me every day. This is not drama – it is reality. I’m still finding my place, even though I am deeply entrenched in one of them, and flourishing here with total abandon. The critical mouth might speak to me words of deprecation, stating that life is about living, not wishing one was living: before you know it, it’s gone. I am all too aware of this, and it makes the vacillations even more excruciating. I aspire to live completely. I endeavor for this every day.

I deeply want to write about everything right here, as I once did. Instead, I write about wanting to write about everything. This will hopefully change as the current adaptation manifests more securely, and as the model takes shape and a life of its own. I’m still doing what I said that I’d do. This is my own reminder of encouragement to myself, and a promise that there is still another life waiting, to be immediately leapt upon when the first one is done.

Today I received an invitation from my graduate alma mater, requesting audience for the retirement gala of the astoundingly eminent Scottish historian, Michael Lynch. I had a vision, then, of scads of familiar faces at the Teviot dining room, dressed elegantly and mingling with smiles and knowing glances – mutual appreciation for this small clique, the foremost in the field at the right institution and in the right city. Visiting friends from other provincial locales, all with the same interests and excitements, are there – partners in crime if not in subject matter. There is an undeniable pride that comes with being a part of that community, and there is considerable pain from not being privy to it ad infinitum. It used to be just a short jaunt along the Meadows to the familiar cobbles of Bucceleuch Place, a tap on the door and then the smell of books far older than this country. Coffee brewing over the pungent smell of photocopy ink, Alex’s booming voice dancing around murmurs from the lecture room. Jan is there, arranging her new office to exacting standards, while Pat and Ewen and James and Julian cross their streams of trajectory, greeting, and intellect. I wish I could go, and see Ralph and Annie, Helen and Katherine, wait outside the old Georgian for Kieran and Gilbert to arrive from Aberdeen and Stirling. The smell of those hops, they’d make us thirst for pints in the Monkey, the Moo, and the ol’ Jolly Judge. And then we’d go wish the old codger a fine rest-of-his-life and firmly shake hands and know that we were continuing the tradition that he carried for decades; Ferguson before him, and perhaps Hume, Johnson, and Home before him. I can taste that night, not yet transpired. Even though I’m not there, and won’t be.

And yet I love my newly painted walls, my cat, the Bridge. I love making people smile with joy and excitement as they roll dice and trade cards. I love the long sunlight, the seals, and de Lint, McSweeney’s, and BobChuck Wilson. The purr of my engine, the smiles of lifelong friends – and burritos. I am not unthankful for the beauty in my life. The grass is not always greener. There are countless explosions of gratitude and contentedness within me every day. But the Headlands are not the Highlands, though the untrained eye might mistake one for the other.

13 Responses to “The Cracks of Light Between.”

  1. seolta Says:
    May 12th, 2005 at 4:39 am

    Miss you much we do 🙂
    Incidentally i learned that Whisky Fringe is two days this year – mayhap by the time you revisit it it will be a whole week 🙂

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 12:43 am

    Oh my goodness. Think of the things we could do in *two* days!
    They'll need to start loading in beanbags into the Advocate's Library.

  3. gingiber Says:
    May 12th, 2005 at 6:38 am

    Wishing you could have made it back. But I am pleased to hear that things are going well and plans are working out, even if it gives you no spare time for now.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 12:45 am

    Thanks, Ginge. I'm tentatively planning a jaunt out there in 2006, so you can bet we'll be good to catch up then. Yes, plans are working out, and if I have anything to say about it, this is just another phase in the much bigger plan to get my little Yankee arse back to Scotland one day.
    Maybe we'll still be mobile by then…

  5. dichroicynosure Says:
    May 12th, 2005 at 7:42 am

    A beautiful recap of your time in Scotland and the things you have to be grateful for there in the Bay. I am finding the slices of halcyon here that only Norway once held for me. Granted I miss the focus of academia, but I love the freedom to indulge in novels! I am with you on the writing about wanting to write more. As usual we are navigating the same seas 🙂

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 12:56 am

    Novels? I've forgotten what they are! Road signs and the backs of role-playing game books have become my only literary stimuli. What I'd love is for you to come by and read me stories while I lounge. While I regenerate from thirteen-hour days of hosting, welcoming, and empathizing. While I let soft words carried upon crimson lips lull me into an undulating reverie.
    That, or you could hit me in the head with a hammer.

  7. avalokita Says:
    May 12th, 2005 at 7:44 am

    So soon, academia will shove me out. I have no plans for grad school. It's a terrible feeling.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 12:57 am

    Academia is a fickle bitch, indeed, but she's always willing to harbor her lackeys should you have the monetary supplication to tempt her into caring for you.
    You have a lovely brain in your pretty, dreadlocked skull – why no plans to continue on?

  9. avalokita Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 10:46 am

    My parental units and supplier of funds think that if I go to grad school, it is to avoid/delay working in the "real world." And since NJ is rediculously expensive, I cannot afford to work and put myself through grad school. And my fiance (with whom I now live with) doesn't care either way and wouldn't help me financially, because he dropped out before finishing his associates…so having the financial rug pulled out from under me was the deciding factor.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    I think the idea that grad school isn't real life is a fallacy, created by people who are either too lazy or unintelligent to understand that such an institution is the fundamental building block of organized society. It's a shame that higher learning is so expensive, because the benefits it can bestow are monumental and quite important, as you seem to be aware of. There are always grants and loans, of course.
    I'm sorry that your husband-to-be doesn't support you in your endeavor based on his own lack of motivation or ability. You certainly deserve so much.

  11. avalokita Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 4:45 pm

    I don't know: I've always prided myself in being a free spirit and the idea of walking out of gradschool thousands of dollars in debt doesn't sound promising. *sigh* Plus, I need health insurance and I've really committed to this life I have now (unfortunately) in a number of ways.
    I really wish I had people that supported the idea of me going…unfortunately no one I know went beyond a bachelors degree…so they don't really see any economic value in it: and the dollar is the bottom line. :/

  12. angledge Says:
    May 12th, 2005 at 5:34 pm

    It's hard, isn't it, to have pieces of your heart strewn all over the globe. If you were There, part of you would yearn for Here. If you were pursuing your studies, part of you would miss the store. But – as someone pointed out to me last fall – having pieces of your heart cached Here & There means that there are more people & places that fill you with joy & rich experiences.

  13. FunkyPlaid Says:
    May 14th, 2005 at 1:03 am

    It is hard, and you know it as well as I. I try to reject the 'Grass is Always Greener' model, however. When I was There, I missed many poignant things from my life, but I never *burned* for something inside like I do the streets, fields, and green hills of our other home. I know you get this, and I know you feel similarly. We've already affirmed that we *must* return, and that doesn't just happen because of simple missing.
    But I love the idea that our hearts are cached. I wonder if the weird guy in the tattered raincoat that used to wander Tollcross has found my piece over there. Moreso, I wonder what he'd do with it if indeed it was found.

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