In my last post, I left off with concern over the sponge-like capacity of my mind in the wake of multiple 2+ hour lectures and workshops everyday. While the knowledge is fascinating, covering topics ranging from issues of the LGBTQ+ community in the election to local human rights organizations, it’s mentally exhausting. It’s the kind of depletion that requires more than sleep to recover. You need activities that feel refreshing to the soul.
It was with that thought that I left my hostel with Morgan (a roommate) to do some field journaling at a local park. Sitting on a bench, admiring the slanted church, the sky beginning to grey. Whether it was a storm or just the setting sun, I had yet to find out. Thunder cackled, laughing at me from a distance as if to signal impending doom. Then it began, a downpour so violent that it rivaled the typhoon summoned by Jumanji. Yet I felt no sadness, anger, quite the opposite, immense joy. Morgan seemed to share my sentiment despite not bringing their umbrella. All around us, people ran like godzilla was in the streets yet we stood there, faces tilted up, watching the gods fling bolts at each other in the recently crowned night. We must have stayed there for ten plus minutes in the torrent of water just observing.
It was home. Back in Seattle, it had been months since it had rained due to an unusually hot summer. Everything from the feel of heavy drops hitting the skin to the sound of cars racing through a deep puddle, it felt home. A clarity of thought came from that night, trying to piece the first week together. I’ve been rethinking a lot of my future and how to find a place in it. Things like lessons on gender violence, trips through the Museum of Memory and Tolerance*, or even just those late night conversations with fellow students. It’s destabilizing, decentralizing my vision for a future. A continuation of a thought process beginning Fall 2017. Back then, I was sure that I would be a physicist, working in labs, publishing research and teaching classes. Now I wonder, does the world need another physicist? Where do I fit in to this jigsaw puzzle that geologists are debating to call the Anthropocene?
It seems to me to be a question of whether. Whether or not I should stick to the path I originally sought. I wonder every night now whether or not I should be afraid of this future with climate change, ocean rises, mass migrations, economic destabilization, you name it. I feel like a child lost without their family, the sinking feeling in the gut where fear hides. Yet in all this fear and anxiety, at least I have the sweet smell of rain, roaring booms of thunder, the rugged weather feel of the Pacific Northwest to soothe my nerves.
*The Museum of Memory and Tolerance is a museum dedicated to genocide, its causes, and ways to prevent it. I spent almost two hours learning about how much we kill each other and how we do little in the way of stopping it.