Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day

I just got the most amazing phone call.

One of my students—a charming, lyrical, funny, curious activist—has been accepted to Bard. This is huge for so many reasons. First of all—I went to Bard and many mixed feelings aside, or considered, it is an incredible place that offers a realm of intellectual experience I had never even considered. And it’s a lot of fun. We never said so then, but it’s like growing up in the country, you have beautiful fields and old houses and a lot of time for creativity. I love Bard. And I am so proud of him. And it is pretty exciting to share this experience.

And the best part is that thirteen years ago on Earth Day I took Amtrak about an hour and a half south from Albany to Rhinecliff, New York and—dressed in my ubiquitous Birkenstocks and homemade sundress, I found myself on the Bard College campus for Accepted Students day. I was lingering, teetering between two worlds—between high school and college and spring and summer and kid-life and grown-up life. While Bard was not my first choice, and I was crabby and hesitant (and painfully shy) upon being there, I couldn’t help but be a little seduced by the bongo-playing boys in patch-work pants and the hand-painted earth day banners and vegan desserts for sale and sunshine-y campus. But I still wasn’t convinced.

And then I met Nicole. I can’t remember how we met exactly, but I do remember we quickly agreed to skip all required activities, take off our shoes and spend the day sitting in the sunken garden at the Hudson river’s edge, learning each others’ history and planning our futures. I still have the journal I carried that year, covered in a faded floral fabric, a page inside bearing a list of book recommendations from Nicole. A sampling

The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda
The Doors of Perception by Alduous Huxley

Yes, I read them both. Today Nicole is married to Mike, who she’d meet in the first few days of our freshman year and they have two amazing sons, Julian and Kai, who are the first Bard kids in our lives.

This time of year is so amazing. It always hearkens back to the last few weeks of senior year in high school. Your exams are over. You’re thinking about college. You’re trying not to say goodbye while trying not to move forward too fast. You’re lying in the grass and your skin is turning pink and everything is so possible. I have to say those days look so strangely blurry now. I might need to read a little Castaneda. Um. Or at least look at some photo albums.

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