Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Once and Future Sweater-Wearing Know-it-All

Pretend as I might to the contrary, I love symbolic statements. So in accordance with completing another phase of my life, the blog has been overhauled. Well, slightly. Overhauled is probably an overstatement. Modified, perhaps.

Americorps is over. Yesterday was my final day of reporting to Operation Fresh Start by 8 a.m., wearing those strictly utilitarian grey T-shirts with inch-wide collars and setting aside the more unsavory, elitist or belligerent parts of my personality to become the sawdust-coated role model I was asked to be.

The last day was actually a recreational one, as my supervisor, Steve, and I rode out to tour the Cave of the Mounds, a lovely geologic formation just west of Madison that miners, and more specifically their black powder, randomly unearthed in the 1930's. If you've never been able to understand why people believe in intelligent design, take a cave tour sometime. You stand in the midst of a visually arresting place, but one that stands as a testament to nothing more than the random power of natural forces -- the same ones that created less revered biomes like Nebraska prairie and the Arizona desert that surrounds the awesome Grand Canyon. But geologists and civilains alike have looked at the Cave of the Mounds formations and seen waterfalls and birds, and for good reason. Our eyes see design even when it is not there, but can neither see nor instrinically fathom the real story -- the millions of years it took for water carve and shape it, which happened in accordance with the locations of cracks through which water could move and limestone deposits it could erode. Their own origins track back a chain of events so much longer than the time truly comprehensible to a human it may as well extend into eternity.

Not to dampen the fun with a dense tangent, though. Caves are cool, and some days, that's it.

It's the first day of August, and speaking of symbolic statements, I rushed to have my work hours done by the end of July for this very reason. July 31 was the last day of my brief-but-not-brief-enough job at the bookstore last summer. But this year, rather than have wisdom teeth forcebly removed from my mouth, I'm having iced tea and writing to you, dear reader, right now. Admittedly this is more pleasant, but nobody's going to prescribe vicadin at the end of it, and there's something to be said for that too.

Usually it takes some time to make a mental transition, but a day after completion I feel different in a way I couldn't have even this weekend, with just two days to go. The blue collar part of me, which I drew out to survive this job and this year, wasn't formed our of mud or thin air. It was down there, but ever a neglected member of the minority party. Allowing them control of Congress was an act of will, and now that I can freely take my foot off the gas I can already feel it. It's August, and August is a transition month. It's a damn hot month, too, which doesn't really help you get your mind in order.

It's now also the beginning of month I will move, first out of Wisconsin with a little stuff and then off to Massachusetts with even less. And just flipping the calendar page is enough of a psychological budge to get you going.

Warm-colored leaves aren't that far off now, so forget the restraint. Viva symbolism.

1 comment:

melanie said...

congrats on your alum status! best of luck in your future journey and all that ... hell i'll see you soon, i'll just tell you this then!