Last night, I went to a party for a friend who successfully defended her dissertation this week. We called her the Patron Saint of Finished and toasted both her triumph and the possibility of our own. It was important that we demonstrate our joy for her, but it was also important to celebrate hope. Our program is small, those who complete it are few, and we need to know that there is such a thing as survival.
I drove into my driveway after midnight, making the slow, break, turn, break, stop by feel as much as by vision. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a ghost – a twisting white winged thing climbing and stumbling up through the trees and then into the light of the moon. I don’t actually think it was a ghost in the strictest sense, but it was a moment of haunting. It felt like the shadow of things I don’t yet know, a manifestation of all the possibility of the next few years, a spectral bird that carried everything I should reach for on its back. I turned off the car and killed the lights and closed my eyes and was thankful for it – for the gift of things not yet known and the ability to still be able to see them, turning summersaults in white gauze in the corners and treetops of a dark summer night.
The photo up top is an Ernst Haas.