Optimism Prime

For the first day in about ninety, I felt…relaxed. Well, not the whole day: I woke up convinced I had woken up early, and then went back to bed and overslept. I ran to get dressed, print my assignments, and then–remarkably–only arrived fifteen minutes late to class. I wasn’t even winded from the stairs.

Class went well. My second class was less a class than a test, and of the twenty questions, there was one I really didn’t know (and will kick myself for getting wrong, since I should’ave known it) and two more that I could have argued for each option. Not exactly the kind of feeling I like having after a test, but I got out of class an hour early, and isn’t that something?

Today, it really was something.

After my test, I picked up some papers and decided I needed some time to myself. I dropped my things off in my office, grabbed my knitting and… I grimaced. I’d left my iPod at home. So, no music. I’d survive. I took my knitting and off I went to my secret place. That place I’m learning is not so secret at all.

In a way, as I said before, that makes it special.

I went down to the more mountainous rock of the two (the other is very jutted, not as many curves to sink into) and there I sat down, unfurled my skein, and began knitting. I haven’t knitted much lately. After I bought my Kindle, I decided I would knit myself a cover for it. None of the ones I saw online felt like “me” and the ones that came close were awfully expensive. So I found a pattern I liked, found it was easier than it looks, and for the past week–two weeks now I guess–I’ve been knitting away. I lost some time over the weekend and hadn’t touched it all week. But today I returned to it and have so far knitted twelve more rows today alone.

(It’s a very tight stitch, with forty-two stitches to a row.)

The amazing part wasn’t the knitting. Nor the relaxation. Nor the sounds of the woods surrounding me, or the water trickling in the small stream nearby (that truncates into a storm drain, but I wasn’t focusing on that). Occasionally I heard bullfrogs. And when the wind blew, my clothes pulled at me and my yarn flew away. But what stood out was the sunlight.

The sunlight was warm on my back, light on my flesh. It was warming, relaxing, and bright. I miss sunlight. The past few days have alternated with grey, bleakness pocked with rain, and then days like today full of sunshine and cloudless skies. The switch is tiring, but the sunlight was lovely.

Throughout the rest of the day, I was busy. I grabbed lunch. I went to my first meeting–which I feared, at first, I might fall asleep during, but soon it evolved into such an awesome experience, so engaging and educational, and I even contributed a few points that were brought up later on as well! However, this meeting overlapped with the second, and since I had wrongly believed I’d be able to slip out early, I ended up late. But once I was there, I quickly got caught up, contributed a few points, and then made sure I spoke with our chair afterwards to make sure I hadn’t truly missed anything.

To think, a year ago, I’d have sat silently in such meetings. I really am growing, and it’s all happened so slowly, so gradually, that I only ever realize I’ve changed when I look to the past.

But the sunlight. It’s the sunlight I’m happy for today. When I walked down to get the mail, the wind whipped around me and the light fell in cascades across the world. I swam through the golden rays, bathed in the dripping liquid gold that reigned across the land. It was magical in its own mysterious and magnificent celestial way.

My mind still gets hung up on the knitting. While I was working my needles, there was this little spider that insisted on visiting. I felt like little miss Muffet for a while, since every time I brushed it away with a leaf, it would come back some time later. It was a little comical, perhaps, but a little distracting, too–and yet, the sunlight made it all worthwhile, basking on the rock, knitting all the while.

There once was also a ladybug. That guest I welcomed.

And the irony: In class today, I was drawing insects. I tend to draw in my notebook while I’m listening to my classmates review our story of the day, since the slight occupation keeps my mind from going off completely on its own. I might draw objects or animals, or symbols and signs, but today I drew insects. The first was a butterfly that developed accidentally from a series of triangles. Then there was a plump little purple spider, unlike the one that visited however. And lastly was a large dragonfly, whose wings could have been more graceful, but whose body caught the sunlight rather well. My shading’s improving, I think. A few more classes and I might be a master.

Then there’s the sunlight again. That’s where the day lingered. Not with the sounds, the sights, the people or the places–but that one photon-magnificent moment in the sunshine, that light from our nearest star that is, at its core, the first fuel of optimism around.

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