The Dead Winter
“What the heck? It’s the dead of winter and the sun is still shining!”
girl outside the Waterloo Public Library
I came to the library today and realized that I am in charge of my own blues. I miss college so much it has almost made me ill! I have failed to realize up until this point that college was only honing what I had learned at a young age and have believed all along…
Sam and I always walked around downtown after school and the library was a frequent stop. We searched for books on the second floor but now they’ve changed it around so much parts are almost unrecognizable.
When I stepped off the bus my earbuds came out immediately. I felt like I was being swallowed by a Ray Bradbury novel, choked by vine-like wires around my neck. Fingers contorted around the device in my pocket.
I no longer need college to be creative. All college did in the long run was make me more isolated from my community.
I do need learning and book and mentors and experimentation and inspiration and maybe some more drugs but I certainly don’t need buildings and budgets and the between semester blues.
I don’t need the Union, Lang Hall, Baker or even the Rod Library to be happy. All of those pieces fit inside me, I have snapped a few pictures and will return for more but that place is not where I am… anymore. I am returning to my roots.
I only really felt in place when I was sitting in a classroom or underneath a tree. When people were involved I seemed to fail again and again. I made a few friends that I hardly talk to but would love to. I don’t know why I can never fully connect. I guess the main reason is that I feel like a bother to everyone. I have never felt quite right, quite good enough… except when I knew the answers and connected with the literature or walked through the grass instead of the sidewalk…
Even these places can never be the same again, I have feared and dreaded this day. Dr. Swan once explained college to me as a place where we should all lounge around in the grass. I think that statement was more true than I realized at the time. A lot of my classmates did lounge around, they didn’t get anything out of their classes and lived for the party life that I so loathed when I was in school. I took his words in a different way. I got the most out of college when I was listening to the advice my professors gave or reflecting on something that was said in class or just drawing by myself while others rushed by on cell phones or busy in dull, repetitive conversations. I remember more than once allowing a friend or acquaintance walk by because I felt my thoughts would be lost if I even mouthed “hello.”
I may have a million pictures of UNI trees, buildings and skies but I have very few pictures of people especially during my last year and a half.
I look around this new place, which is really just the place I was before I changed. I’m still not sure how or in exactly what ways college changed me but it definitely did. I am more tired now. A little more cynical even though that is my least favorite word next to “cockmeat sandwich” for very odd and off topic reasons. I take myself far too seriously and let silence grow between myself and friends far to long…
I look around at buildings I loved as a child and notice new structures creeping around familiar corners.
I am sitting in this place and laughing because it took me so long to realize, I mean it took me losing everything to realize that the only thing I have or ever will is my thoughts. Thoughts, like memories that seem to warp around the edges, only last as long as I do. My entire life I have tried to record my thoughts and edit them into some magic film or transcribe them into a brilliant novel but now I know that some things are only interesting to me and that an artist’s soul is bound to be a tortured one.
For without all this pain I’ve witnessed in myself and in others where would I be? I have lost and created out of that loss and found an identity out of a broken shell. My eyes may be darkened from lack of rest, my soul heavy with burdens another can not yet understand or even know about, but I know that everything that is lost must be somewhere and eventually, I myself will be completely and utterly lost, again.