Monday, July 5, 2010

"It's a flawed work of art."

I love fireworks. I love them more the older I get, now that I'm not afraid of explosions or listless in staring at the sky. This seems to indicate to me that I'm slowly ceasing to be a kid, but I can't be sure. Either way, fireworks are mesmerizing. The bang, boom, crackle of the explosions . . . the twinkle and sparkle and intense light of all the colors. A choreographed show that can't be practiced ahead of time, but depends on the most intricate of precise planning for success.

Fireworks are the most sacred kind of beauty because they can't be captured, because it's the way they move and grow and change that makes them so spectacular. They're temporal, in a flash they're gone, but still, in that flash you see all the stages: the genesis, the peak, the sloughing away into ash and smoke. You can't freeze a firework in time; even just a well-timed snapshot somehow steals away the brunt of its majesty.

Fireworks remind me of the end of the world. something that fascinates me. I tend to side against TS Eliot and anticipate the end of the world coming with a bang. It doesn't matter if it will or not, that's just what I think of. There's just such sheer power and force and light in the fireworks, it awes me. I saw the fireworks this year in Boston. A city that never ceases to charm me into irrationality.

So yesterday morning, one of my dear friends had been telling me about the engineering study abroad program at Boston University, where she'll be going in the fall. I felt the slightest twinge, and once on the MIT campus in Cambridge for a better view of the fireworks, the twinge throbbed more consistently. Boston is primarily a college town, and in this I have no part.

It is not that I am discontent with URI. Not only has God provided abundantly in terms of financing my education, but I'm also excited about the academics and confident that this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm certain after two months there I'll love it as much as if it were my top choice. I treasure this gift. And yet, the dream was always to go to school in Boston.

I applied to three schools in Boston, crazily competitive schools I didn't stand a chance with. I did that terrible thing where you fall in love with something you can't have. My friend got into my top choice, Boston University. I got wait-listed. So in her preparations to go to school in the fall, I see what I wanted to have, could have had. And it makes me nostalgic, and a little melancholy. Perhaps a little jealous. As spectacular as the fireworks were, I saw the summer school kids watching the show from their dorm room couches and I felt the absence of something that was never mine.

And so I wonder how life is supposed to work, which dreams we're supposed to pursue, whether disappointment is a choice. Also, I'm realizing that Boston is a short car and train ride away. And visiting is probably cheaper than living there. Contentment is not so unattainable. The right attitude is within reach.

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