Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4: The Future, Graduation Time, Change

[E. B. White] graduated from high school in January 1917 but didn't leave for Cornell until fall.  Whit a thousand dollars' worth of scholarships--ten times Cornell's annual tuition--he had no financial worries.  But the future did not look rosy...

E. B. White graduated from high school just before President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, throwing the United States into World War I.  Instead of going off to college, many young men went off to war.  On Palm Sunday that year, White looked out his window and "noticed that the neighborhood lawns were sporting so many flags they looked like red, white, and blue spring flowers."

It's that time of year.  Graduation is in the air along with the pollen.  This Friday, one of my niece's is graduating from high school.  Last month, another of my nieces graduated from college, and she's getting married in the fall.  Early June is a time of change.  The planet shifts from the dead branches of winter to the dandelion blossoms of spring.  Everybody is happy, celebrating the sun and warmth.

I've never been a lover of change.  This time of year sort of depresses me.  Young people are growing up, moving away, starting new lives.  Like E. B. White, I don't see the future as rosy.  I'd need to drink a lot of gin to attain that outlook. 

My future looked rosy when I graduated from high school and had a full-ride scholarship to college.  My future looked rosy when I graduated from college and had a full-ride assistantship to graduate school.  My future looked rosy when I earned my Master's degree and had a full-ride fellowship to a PhD program.  My future looked rosy when I received another full-ride fellowship to an MFA program.  And my future looked rosy when I marched into my MFA graduation ceremony.

Since then, things have not always been so rosy.  In fact, much of the last ten years has been a struggle.  Tonight, on the fourth of June, the lilacs are blooming.  The crickets are chirping.  My kids are done with school for the summer.  And I'm struggling again.  I'm sure I'll find my happy place again.  It's going to take a while.

In the meantime, Saint Marty will have to rely on sleeping pills and chocolate.

No matter how high you throw them, they always end up in the dirt

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