i've always had a very difficult time living in moments and appreciating where i am. one beautiful day found me in downtown madison. as lake mendota glimmered in the distance, a breeze rose from the water and encircled me, holding me secure there on the hill. a glorious setting indee, and yet my mind found me fantasizing about whitewashed churches in the new england countryside and winds rolling off of lake champlain. i guess i just longed to be in vermont before the summer was over. i ached desperately to make it there before labor day. i swore that if i could, then magic could somehow will itself into my life. i kept asking myself why i could never open myself up to the possibility of experiencing that kind of magic right here and right now, but the answer never came. i guess it just always seemed so much easier to procrastinate on these matters-to postpone happiness and full participation in life. it was easier to believe that i can finally live-and love-fully only when my intellect was more refined, my body less soft, and my personality flaws all but gone. it was a whole hell of a lot easier to believe that i wouldn't be happy until i was in a certain place, or with a certain person, or somehow closer to perfect. i thought life would wait until my beauty and worth were less debatable. i knew i was fooling myself.

i found myself constantly battling my own thoughts, thoughts i couldn't understand. it didn't make much sense to me. i could objectively appreciate a town's culture and aesthetics, perhaps even connect with its residents on a grand scale, and yet still fail to feel any genuine warmth for that place. i attributed it to some spiritual pull-something innate and unswaying. i kept battling these feelings, however. i kept hoping to stumble upon a formula to conjure up longing, so that i could live in the places that made the most sense-the places where my friends were. ultimately, however, i know that one never consciously decides to long for something. the same held true for people. i could know a person was wise and kind and that their friendship was worth valuing. i could appreciate their outreach efforts with pleasant detachment, but ultimately i took them for granted. i always ended up pining for the friendships that weren't formed and the letters that never came. every summer i end up feeling the same. i end up feeling as though the season has slipped through my fingers and left me with nothing to show for it. i end up doubled over myself for those last two weeks of august, trying to cram all the unrealized glory days into a mere fortnight. i fail, of course. i try to console myself by telling myself that the people and places will remain until next summer. it's true in part. they will...but the waves will break and form new patterns in the sand, and friendships will change form, and the world will be different.