Monday, August 18, 2008

Three Feet of Green Space

Yesterday, I prayer-walked the campus of Georgetown University. The freshmen are arriving, posing for pictures in Dahlgren Square, and the football team (such as it is) is practicing without pads on the carefully painted yardage below the Southwest Quadrangle. Which means, of course, that another summer has fled. There are other, subtler signs of its lingering departure: The fireflies have all gone, the thunderstorms are fewer, and the light has a leaner, yellow quality.

The election season is ramping up, too. The McCain staffers have multiplied like hamsters, and by all appearances, they never go home. Taking a break on the esplanade today, I found one of them stretched hobo-style on a bench, barefoot, his tie undone and his bicep pressed against his eyes, blocking out the world.

I am in his camp today. I am hiding from my spreadsheets and my Outlook calendar amid three feet of green space, amid breezes that rustle a thousand five-pointed leaves, and bugs that tick and chew and buzz. It is the deep breath before the long, sustained effort at perfection that comes with the banquets.

It is the beginning of my third year at IJM. My work is steady and repetitive, but it no longer overwhelms me on the regular basis that it once did. I can barely account for the passage of time, and before I know it this tree will be bare-limbed, groaning with fresh-fallen snow. I strive to remember important and calming truths: What needs to happen will happen. And what doesn’t will fall by the wayside. And the fireflies will know when to come back.

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