Where All the Veins Meet

This morning, I smiled at my reflection in the mirror, noticing a crop of new freckles and some peeling skin on my nose. It’s finally warm in Burlington. It may not last, but for the next ten days we are north of 50 degrees, which is all I can ask for. I smudged generous amounts of grapefruit essential oil on my wrists and neck and mixed it in with a few drops of the fragrance I’ve come to associate with my soul itself; Beach by Bobbi Brown. Together this combination reminds me of summer mornings at home cutting up a grapefruit, wearing a free people dress and going on a bike ride to the beach.

I am so happy here and don’t want to leave Vermont, because it’s so fun and beautiful, but I miss home so much. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel both. I can’t wait to jump feet first into the ocean, but I’m going to miss climbing up mountains and stumbling down to the waterfront with a picnic blanket, beer, and a sandwich. I guess my life is filled with so much beauty and the fact that I can’t have both places I love at once makes me sad.

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Yesterday I led a hike, my first real hike, up a mountain that was coated in thick untrustworthy layers of snowfall. By the time I left my socks were soaked through with snow and mud and my leggings were adhered to my ass from the times I fell and let myself slide. We sang along to Vermont radio stations on the way home and I was so tired and happy. A lot of the girls had never gone hiking before, and some were annoyed at how slow they were, but it just reminded me of a cliche, that we all get down the mountain somehow, no matter how unprepared or how likely to stumble we are. Even the best hikers on that trip had to sled down some parts, their packs soaked through with snowpack. It’s maybe a metaphor for this semester. Yeah, going uphill is hard, and you don’t know where to put your feet sometimes and your leg can fall through really easily, but the view at the top is great. On the flipside of that, the way down can be quicker and easy, but slushy, unreliable, and filled with challenges.

With that metaphor in mind, I know I’m just stumbling through the slush and mud in the final throes of spring semester. But I’m choosing to love it, rather than how much I hated it last semester. If there’s anything I wish I’d done differently, it would have been to talk to people. To wear the clothing I wore in high school. To try not to change so fast just because my surroundings did. To sing to Hozier in the shower on Monday mornings, to color in your journal on the quad, and to text that girl you met at a leadership conference to make popcorn and have a picnic. Follow the girl in your spanish class on instagram when you come across it. Talk to the boy in your environmental science class, ask him about Minnesota, go to a party and ask for a hit of his joint and be his friend. College can be just as socially smooth as high school was for you, Maina, if you just treat it that way.

My advice to future college freshman: buy the expensive fruit at the farmer’s markets, hang out with the kids you met in your orientation group, laugh for hours over breakfast instead of getting up after twenty minutes to study. Trust everyone and be content, like the wholesome meme says. People notice what you’ve got going on in your head, regardless of what the 2012 tumblr depression blogs say, so just choose to enjoy the challenges and people will enjoy them with you. I can’t believe I took all of this from a hike, but I guess the weather getting warm reminds me of who I really am. I do believe that people take after certain seasons and I know mine is summer so I am doing my best to reflect how I feel right now onto others.

I can’t really end this on a note that will tie this information together up neatly like most of my posts do. I feel like there is so much I’m going to live over this last month and two days of my freshman year. I cannot believe it’s almost over. So I’m just going to leave a poem that reminds me of this time in my life, so when I feel this way all over again it will make sense.

“As I write
the coffee shop is getting crowded
My back is to the line and counter
but I hear as people enter and exit
the creak of the door
I feel the cool draft 
the outside air gushing in eagerly
while it is able
Overhead is Bono’s voice
replacing Chris Martin’s
“I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls”
My left bicep starts to throb
I rub my eyes
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
The throbbing stops
and I inhale deeply
resting my head on the concrete wall beside me
painted white
although not fresh and fragrant” (x)
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Public Transportation

I had to write a poem as a final project for my art class. It encompasses some of what I post on here so I thought it would be fit to post it.

Staring out of minivan windows overlooking my old exits

The air conditioner blasting into my dry eyes from the front vent

I was turning fifteen as the train reached Harlem.

I bought a new perfume, stumbling from Gramercy Park

To the Upper West Side, joining a line of girls with hearts on their cheeks.

I was going to miss the last train out of Manhattan that night

But we ran and caught it and went back to where we were supposed to be

Overlooking my old exits, the air conditioner turned off

And my thin black sweater wrapped around my shoulders

When the yellow lights in my small town started blinking.

 

Staring out of bus windows overlooking the suspension bridges

The nicked glass melting in the winter sun

Tea tree oil, coconut and cocoa butter lotion

Prepaid Metro-North ticket in my right hand

A winter jacket, scarf, and jar of water in the other.

I was going to miss the last train out of his town that night

But I ran and caught it and went back to where I was supposed to be

Overlooking the suspension bridges, nicked glass

Reminding me of the wall that separated me and the Fox news

Channel watching and car crashing.

 

Staring out onto 16th Street and Corcoran, Gregorian chant

Wakes me up, my Airbnb man opened the windows last night

Sweat and mascara and pear vodka in my toothpaste

I think he smokes, but only the bathroom smells like cigarettes.

Flight itinerary printed out in the library in my laptop case,

Clothes strewn all over the bed and risks permeating my emptying wallet.

I was going to miss my flight out of Dulles early next morning

But I rolled out of bed and threw on a sweatshirt and the uber came

And I could breathe, and I was going back to where I was supposed to be.

When I hung up my new map and circled in the street corner,

It didn’t feel that way at all.

 

Everything was fine when the piano kicked in,

When I missed the last bus out of St. Paul Street

I wasn’t cold, there was no Grand Central to welcome me in,

No big yellow school bus waiting to take me back to my skyline.

Everything was fine when the piano kicked in

And I will continue to hope it will be because

It didn’t feel that way at all.