12 January, 2010


The weather was so cold December 16, i think my grey matter congealed a bit on the way to that organic chemistry final. A mechanism i knew on one problem slipped my mind on another. I wondered how that happens, wonder if there's anything like ethylene glycol (antifreeze) for the brain. Thought the closest thing i know is EtOH (ethyl alcohol) one hydroxyl group away; thought there were enough stereoisomers floating around in my head as it is. But regardless, i was done. Not finished for good - still an incomplete course i am working feverishly and distractedly to finish, still one semester left of undergrad - but there was a certain sense of finality to that exam. So when i drove past Woodmans, past the restaurants on Mill Street, and out of Orono, the road spread before me, the taillights glowed with a very different feeling. A bittersweet one, but more than anything, a feeling of freedom. Life lies ahead, not behind; memories of three and a half years living in Orono linger pleasantly.

Yet it has taken weeks to finally feel at home with a decision i'd been working at for months. Having a strong network of supporting neighbors and family somewhat assuages concerns about my father's long-term wellness, and so in less than two weeks i leave for the semester. Bound for Ankara, Turkey. More posts to come as i learn about the place and prepare to enter a new culture. For now, a song that has been on my mind all day. It' a wistful song in many ways, one a certain girl introduced me to - said it always made her think of me. "The Kid", lyrics by Buddy Mondlock:

I'm the kid who ran away with the circus
Now I'm watering elephants
But I sometimes lie awake in the sawdust
Dreaming I'm in a suit of light

Late at night in the empty big top
I'm all alone on the high wire
Look he's working without a net this time
He's a real death-defier

I'm the kid who always looked out the window
Failing tests in geography
But I've seen things far beyond just the school yard
Distant shores of exotic lands

There - the spires of the Turkish Empire
Six months since we made landfall
Riding low with the spice of India
Through Gibraltar
We're rich men

I'm the kid who thought we'd someday be lovers
Always held out that time would tell
Time was talking guess I just wasn't listening
No surprise if you know me well

And as we're walking toward the train station
There's a whispering rainfall
Cross the boulevard you slip your hand in mine
In the distance the train calls

I'm the kid who has this habit of dreaming
Sometimes gets me in trouble too
But the truth is I could no more stop dreaming
Than I could make them all come true

From Cry Cry Cry with Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplanksy, & Richard Shindell
Razor & Tie Records 1998