Friday, May 28, 2010

Cut Grass (Sense of the City)

The smell of cut grass hung in the air as I walked down the street the other day. That smell means summer to me. All through winter the grass lays dying in the snow only to sprout up in the spring. The snow melts and bright green sprouts poke out of the whiteness. Grass grows through the spring, but I still associate that fresh smell with summer, which is coming--quick.

Chicago lawns are a lot different from what I remember back home. The lawns surrounding the farm are vast fields of manicured grass, kept at such lengths by tractor-size lawnmowers. The size and quality of the lawns can only be rivaled by Wriggly Field. But in Chicago, we do not have such riches in space, but lawn owners still keep up the quality. Tiny two by ten foot squares in front of each house are decorated with flowers and statues. The grass is lovingly shaped with an exactness that can only be achieved with a level and scissors.

I guess summer can no longer mean a break for me. No longer will I have several months to rest from the riggers of class and papers. After this summer I will have to join the real world, but I have another summer to recklessly travel. Graduation is over. All my papers are turned in; all my classes are over. My school career ended with a fizzle, not a bang. Graduation was not the end; I still had a paper due. But all that is finished now. Now all I have to worry about it sailing across the ocean. I'll be first matting a boat to Spain for the next month or how ever long it takes.

As far as we have come technologically we still don't have Internet everywhere. My only connection to the outside world will be an expensive satellite phone that needs to be used sparingly. I guess no Facebook or Twitter for me.

I'm not used to this. Big trips are new to me. I feel like I'm betraying my class a bit. But the world is out there to be explored and new experiences wait. For now I'll have to enjoy the smell of cut grass, because I doubt I'll run into any out there.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Graduation (Sense of the City)

The sun rises and spills through my window earlier than months before. The light wakes me up slowly in the morning and I watch it go down at night. The sky has been so blue lately. It's getting to the point where temperature in the 50's is considered too cold.

It's a beautiful day out today, but I'm stuck inside. I have to finish my final papers and projects before I'm completely done with school. I have only a week left. That's not much time, and I'm a little bit worried. Not so much about getting my homework done, because I usually can jam something out right before deadline.

I'm worried about what comes next. Graduation is closing in on me. It's the end of how my life was up until now and I don't know what will come next. I could tell you what I'll be doing this summer, but that's another column. It's my life after summer that I'm worried about. I've always been the type of person who needs to know what comes next.

I'm worried. I've been worried for a while, ever since I realized my life is about to change. But it's exciting. In a few months I could literally be anywhere I want to be.

As I write this, I look outside my window and gray clouds are rolling in and covering the bright, blue sky. The last few days have been a bit stormy. The other night I was woken up by the first lightning storm I heard in a long time. I kept the windows open and decided to fall asleep to the beautiful rain sound. It looks like today might be a similar type of weather, which would keep me inside. Perhaps I wont be too distracted to finish my homework. Perhaps I will be able to finish and move on from this part of my life to the next.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I graduated today. I walked down the theater aisle, up the stairs and across the stage. It took me six years to do this. Six years to get the gown and cap and tassel. Six long years.

Honestly, I walked to make my mom happy. She told me she spent enough of time and money to see me walk, and so I figured I owed her. My heart wasn't really in it at first, but sometime between the alphabetizing and the opening statements, I looked around the hallways and was hit by a flood of memories. I spent hundreds of hours speeding through those hallways in between classes, up to the library, out for a quick lunch. I never had enough time to look around and take everything in until I was stuck in line, steaming inside a black, rayon gown with a stupid hat on my head. I looked at my fellow students . . . excuse me . . . graduates and was flooded with hope for the future and nostalgia for the past. That's not me. I'm fairly grumpy and irritable. I am not nostalgic. But today I was. And it felt good--really good.

Chris Matthews was the commencement speaker. His words really helped--made me think about what I want to be. I'm not always an optimist, but now I think I am for this aspect of my life. He spoke truth. He told us the road to our future will be difficult. We will need to work hard to get to that next step. I think I am finally ready for the next step. This is not normal for me to say, but I think I've changed a little bit. I've gone through this amazingly difficult six years for the better. And I'm excited to see what's next.