There’s a particular time in my life that I idealize: the three something years I spent right after my resignation from the corporate world in pursuit of a masters degree in philosophy.
In those days, I lived in a studio apartment just fractionally larger than a shoebox, in a complex that was across the street from the university where I studied and taught. Every day, I walked ten minutes over a bridge then through a field, watching the sunlight evade the branches of spindly trees only to shatter against the dewdrops on the blades of grass. Days passed with clockwork precision in a tightly regimented ballet of yoga, breakfast, classes, lunch, classes, dinner, reading, studying and writing.
At least once a year, for about three to six weeks, I left the country to see the world (and possibly find myself; or perhaps lose myself; one forgets after enough findings and losings).
Much of this time was spent in solitude, and I ate so little in those days that even my skinniest clothes were falling off me.
In hindsight, it was a time of hibernation: a three year period of silent gestation and quiet germination. It was as if my life was folding tightly into itself, in anticipation of some massive and radical uncoiling.
When the budding came, it was glorious too (and blinding, and searing, and destructive, in the way supernovas are).
Now, some three something years after the unfolding, there’s a tapering of energy—a settling that’s midway between the solipsism of winter and the promiscuity of spring.
As always, I find myself caught unawares, suspended between my nostalgia for the past and my longing for the future.
(Question: How do you navigate the present when the moment’s forever slipping away from under your feet? Answer: You stumble along, merrily or otherwise; though merrily is best.)
But there’s grace here too in simply noticing the seasons. We go round and round—until someday…we don’t.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.