It Feels Like Coming Home…
It feels like coming home. That was my response when a stranger at the coffee shop asked what my first few weeks of graduate school felt like. It feels like coming home.
I don’t know that the response was appropriate to the question. And I’m sure the polite gentleman wrinkled his eyebrows thinking hard about my slightly crooked answer to his straight question. He smiled and nodded, and turned around when the cashier called him up, but I know he turned my words over in his head a few times. I don’t know why I said it like that. It just came out. I meant it, though. The words slipped from my lips, and I liked saying them. They felt snug and true, like candle light or a third read through.
I’m not from Fort Collins, or from Colorado. Or from the Midwest at all, actually. I grew up in New York City, shoving my poet-self in between buildings and other New Yorkers, elbowing down sidewalks, rolling my eyes at the long lines in the supermarket. I never took to the poorly landscaped parks and the impersonality of the trees and garbage cans. None of it seemed whole to me. I don’t mean whole as in full; I mean whole as in home. I’ve always been waiting for something else, something that drew the light out of my spine, made my eyes go wide. I left New York City when I was twenty-one. All that concrete and asphalt sucked me dry. It took a few years and a fistful of difficult experiences for my gaze to fall Westward. At twenty-four and a half, my best friend and I packed our bags and headed for Colorado. Mountains. Layers of them. Stacks of them. Whole.
My first forty-nine days of graduate school has been everything like, and nothing like, and more than, I could have dreamed even if my entire life was a series of night times. Reading poetry and an impossible amount of literature each week is challenging. Working, interning, teaching, and student-ing sometimes feels like climbing Mount Everest. In a winter-advisory blizzard. With a runny nose. But being around such talented writers, all of us wedged up against the foothills of the Rockies, is an opportunity that I’d never want to miss. I am here, in the thick of my first semester, knee-deep in assignments and yellow leaves and it feels like coming home.