in pursuit of…

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I created this blog a while ago and at first it was called “Constant Vigilance” because I thought I was being super funny, but really I was just being dorky because no one understood it. I later decided that I should change the name to something more fitting, although it’s rather fitting that I would change the name. So why “In pursuit”? Pursuit is such an interesting word. It is “an action of following someone or something” or, in Physiology, “the action of the eye following a moving object”. I’m not exactly following a specific someone or something, but I guess I’m sort of like the eye following a moving object. I’m just not sure what the moving object is. Or perhaps the moving object just keeps changing.

I don’t really know what I’m going after, but I’m going after something. I love learning about things and meeting people and going places and trying new activities and listening to different music. I sometimes feel like a sponge, and I just want to absorb everything on the kitchen counter. Every day I have a new goal or idea or plan to do something or go somewhere or learn something.

I don’t mind it, though. I enjoy getting really interested in something for about a week and learning a lot about it and then finding something else I’m interested it. I always hold on to whatever I learn and sometimes pick back up with whatever it was I was interested in that was then abandoned. I think this used to drive my parents absolutely nuts. One day I would ask for a piano to learn how to play piano, and the next day I would want paints or a coloring book or a sketch pad and the day after that I would want to read every Jane Austen book written (an actual completed task!). I have actually found things that I enjoy doing, writing and dancing, but I’m still pursuing hobbies like knitting, cooking, and the newest of these, learning some Italian.

I have always been the person to want to learn the most about the one thing that is closest to me. If I’m sitting in a wine class I want to learn everything there is to know about the different grapes and fermentation processes and what kind of wood they use to make barrels. I have no desire to learn about types of fish in the Caribbean while I’m learning everything there is to know about wine. I’m constantly in a new hobby, learning a new thing, reading a new story or book, trying to master a new skill. The thing that is in front of me is interesting, and beautiful, and just perfectly and exactly how I want to express myself and my inner artistic beast at that time. There’s a sense of possibility in the things that I am in pursuit of.

And it’s just wonderful, or si fantastico, as the Italians would say.

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an art.

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Here’s a poem by Carl Phillips called “Civilization”. I’m pretty swamped in finals at the present moment so I thought I’d just bring in some words from other writers that I think are particularly powerful.

Civilization

There’s an art
to everything. How
the rain means
April and an ongoingness like
that of song until at last

it ends. A centuries-old
set of silver handbells that
once an altar boy swung,
processing…You’re the same
wilderness you’ve always

been, slashing through briars,
the bracken
of your invasive
self
. So he said,
in a dream. But

the rest of it—all the rest—
was waking: more often
than not, to the next
extravagance. Two blackamoor
statues, each mirroring

the other, each hoisting
forever upward his burden of
hand-painted, carved-by-hand
peacock feathers. Don’t
you know it, don’t you know

I love you, he said. He was
shaking. He said:
I love you. There’s an art
to everything. What I’ve
done with this life,

what I’d meant not to do,
or would have meant, maybe, had I
understood, though I have
no regrets. Not the broken but
still-flowering dogwood. Not

the honey locust, either. Not even
the ghost walnut with its
non-branches whose
every shadow is memory,
memory…As he said to me

once, That’s all garbage
down the river, now
. Turning,
but as the utterly lost—
because addicted—do:
resigned all over again. It

only looked, it—
It must only look
like leaving. There’s an art
to everything. Even
turning away. How

eventually even hunger
can become a space
to live in. How they made
out of shamelessness something
beautiful, for as long as they could.

dream come true.

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My Summer Study Abroad trip Dream has COME TRUE! I had been applying for scholarships and awards and grants but nothing had come through yet. Friends and family had been sending monies my way and all of it was much appreciated, but I was still only about a third of the way there.

I applied for a scholarship with the Classics Department at my college because I’m studying in Italy and I’ve taken Latin and I studied a great deal about Roman history because I think it’s fascinating. I had emailed the director of the scholarship and she seemed skeptical about me being able to receive much, but she said that I’d definitely be able to get something since I’ve taken Classics courses and I’m going to a Classics related environment.

The application said that awards could be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand, so I figured I would get a prize on the lower end of the spectrum if I got anything at all because I’m sure people go abroad and study Greek or Latin and Greek or Roman Civilization or Art or things more prevalent to the scholarship than studying Modern Dance (albeit, just kilometers from Pompeii — one of the most amazing historical sites EVER).

I went to the award ceremony yesterday and they announced some of the scholarships and there was one other Scholarship like mine and she was awarded the maximum amount of scholarship money. She explained that she’ll be going to Florence, Italy to study Art History and Latin, and I was really happy for her! If I were going abroad through a college I would definitely study Latin. When they finally called my name, I crossed my fingers as she was announcing how much my award was for, hoping for at least a few hundred dollars to put towards my tuition.

The professor announced that I too had received a scholarship in the highest denomination of the award.

I felt like Kate Winselt winning an Oscar.

I seriously wanted to cry. I was in complete shock and disbelief. I had been having some doubts about being able to go on this trip, purely for financial reasons but I’m officially going to be able to go on this trip because of this scholarship. I even feel like crying just writing about it here. I’m still going to have to do some fundraising for the difference, but the difference is small compared to what I needed.

Thank you again to everyone, everyone who has helped me. I can’t believe this is actually happening.

Love love love love love

lake vostok.

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I’m taking an Environmental Science class this semester. We’ve discussed the basics of ecology and land use and water conservation and all those fun things. I’m working on a class project on Landscape Architecture and this class has really taught me a lot about environmental conservation.

Human beings make me angry, though. There’s a lake, it’s called Lake Vostok and it’s located in Antarctica. It has been sealed off from the world for 14 million years and it is one of the few things called a Closed System to ever exist. EVER. And Russian drill bits are about to ruin that.

There are many subglacial lakes on Antarctica but this one is completely isolated from all of the other ones. It also is supersaturated with oxygen — the levels are over 50 times greater than most freshwater lakes. Why do human beings have to ruin that? This is an environment of extremophiles, the coolest of all species. They have the ability to exist in the harshest of conditions on the planet.

All the ice caps are going to melt in the next few decades just wait until then and study the lake. I understand that this could strengthen the case for extraterrestrial life and provide information on species that could perform ecosystem services such as providing medicine…but it’s been sealed off for 14 million years for a reason. Mother Nature has a reason for everything. I ask again, why do human beings have to ruin a perfectly beautiful thing in this world?

On the note of Mother Nature, however, I recently came across a very interesting article about a recent law in Bolivia. The country is to pass a law called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, or The Law of Mother Earth, which will grant nature the same rights as humans. You can read more about it here. All I have to say is that it’s about damn time a government put forth this much effort to protect the environment of their country.

For all the services that the ecosystem gives us, isn’t it about damn time that we do something for it?

the second before.

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I’d always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout Camp, watching falling stars. And yellow leaves from the maple trees that lined our street. Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper. And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand-new Firebird. And Janie… and Janie. And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday.