This is TREES III, the final piece of the series! Before you begin, know these are not the words I expected to write. In my mind, I'd fast-tracked to a compelling tale about what college has been like for me: seven semesters and three summers. I worked on it for weeks, but I'm still so close, too close, to understand it all. Maybe that story will come later; for now, here's what I have, written today.
It's been three and a half years in a college town. To use a seemingly unlikely metaphor, Clemson's been a foyer. Fairly small yet good for beginnings, entertaining for a short while. Doors on all four walls, pathways to possibility. In my mind, the foyer's got a tree burgeoning in the center and the tree is me.
The Foyer was grand for a small sprout, unexplored and thrilling. 'Til the end, it has been nurturing and kind. Inside, I've learned to stay soft, to be bold. I've learned the world is big and emotions are ok. I've learned what kind of company I like to keep, and that life is brimming with purpose. Each of them deserve their own essay, someday.
Ok, back to the Foyer. A time came when I thought I'd outgrown it. I no longer fit. My branches pressed against thick walls, twined 'round doorknobs. Leaves littered the hardwood. I wanted more than what was inside.
Not fitting was a half-truth in ways I'm not sure how to articulate yet. Growth was happening and growing pains are good. And there's something to be said for sticking around. Time kept its pace as doors opened and branches shot through, allowing for roaming and remaining to coexist. A God-breathed phenomenon, I'm sure.
Now, at the risk of being cliche, it is time to uproot. Ring turned, I am ready. I've flourished I hope, Wisely & Slow.
...and so the last leaf falls. I watch the descent with a wide grin, for the Foyer let a good thing grow.
WWLT: Wisely & Slow - The Staves // The Current State of Things - Noah Gundersen
Answers to FAQ (aka what's next for me):
I just finished college with a Communications degree. I'll be staying in Clemson through the spring, leading Young Life and working a part-time job of some sort, soaking up time with friends. Hopefully I'll have some opportunities to travel, but my biggest goals are to make/save money, and to learn to play drums.
I feel the closing of a chapter without its finality. I don't have to say goodbyes yet, but I've been introspective all the same, preparing for all the "lasts" in the coming months. Next, I hope to return to Nashville and find a job I love. Stay tuned!
L: 1/4/14, Christmas break freshman year. I spent a few days in/around Columbus, NC with five friends; it changed the trajectory of my life. While I don't see most of them on a regular basis, I'm always glad our paths crossed.
LC: 9/11/14, I've spent many days in this tree out at Chattooga Belle Farm. This day I took my friend Bailey to see the magic of the treehouse. Lots of memories w/ people I love are here; so is my illegible left-handed signature.
RC: 10/26/14, from Max Patch Mtn. Brianna, Abby and I spent a perfect autumn day there. When I think of it I hear Beyond the Blue by Josh Garrels.
R: 1/22/16: Last year, it snowed late on a Friday night. It'd been a rough week; after some convincing, I joined my friends outside and marveled at the white winter trees, taking photos as we ran around campus.