All of my friends who work in college admissions are wrapping up their last recruitment trips of the season, and as they've relayed their stories about cheap hotels, missed flights, and clueless high schoolers, it's just begun to sink in: I'm not in that world anymore. I'm a student again, and I've stayed put for the months of September and October for the first time in three years.
Okay, so three years may not sound like long, but I've only been alive for 25--that's 12% of my lifetime! (Yes, I had to pull out a calculator to do that math.) Dealing with change has never been my strong suit, and although I think I am exactly where I should be, I'll be honest--this has been an adjustment.
For some reason all this change reminds me of a book I read as a child, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. Although the author wrote it to explain to children the complex idea of death, it's really about life, and change, and hope. It's not a sad book.
As I reread the story, it spoke to me in a new way, one part in particular:
Freddie loved being a leaf. He loved his branch, his light leafy friends, his place high in the sky, the wind that jostled him about, the sun rays that warmed him, the moon that covered him with soft, white shadows. Summer had been especially nice. The long hot days felt good and the warm nights were peaceful and dreamy. There were many people in the park that Summer. They often came and sat under Freddie's tree. Daniel told him that giving shade was part of his purpose.
"What's a purpose?" Freddie had asked.
"A reason for being," Daniel had answered. "To make things more pleasant for others is a reason for being. To make shade for old people who come to escape the heat of their homes is a reason for being. To provide a cool place for children to come and play. To fan with our leaves the picnickers who come to eat on checkered tablecloths. These are all the reasons for being."I loved Charleston, and I still do. I loved my friends there, my home, the water. But I couldn't fulfill my purpose there. The crazy thing is, I don't even know what that purpose is yet, but I know I needed to come here to find it. So here I am.
P.S. - Forgive my navel-gazing for a moment, and expect a recipe soon! I sat down to write a post about apple cake, and this just came out.