Relief: A Post-RISD Update

Relief. It feels like re-entering a long-abandoned room, smiling in the deepest exhausted satisfaction at the gentle click of the latch closing behind me.  A fast-forward film clip of the last 72 hours would be a flickering blur of the boxing up of belongings, the handing over of keys, the turning in of final art pieces.  Sleepless nights of coffee cups and charcoal are behind us.  The stress that plagued us, engraving its dark circles under our eyes, pulling the hair from our heads, is gone.  By some unbelievably miracle, it’s all over – our assignments are all completed, for better or for worse, our leases have been signed, our classes registered for, our day-planners buried in some deep, dark corner of storage space.  Thank God.

This is to say, pardon my extended absence.  RISD’s summer foundation studies program, at least the section I was enrolled in, was absolutely brutal.  Even when it was over, my brain wouldn’t shut up – in survival mode, running on caffeine and desperation, I couldn’t stop stressing, making frantic to-do lists in my head, rushing to get all the other things done, pack, move, return, store, book… until yesterday after lunch.  Yesterday after lunch, it hit me like a wave of the most refreshingly glacial water in the oppressive northeastern heat – It’s over.  Really.  That blissful calm crept up from between the sidewalk cracks, comforting and giggly, to paint the afternoon with the joy of doing nothing.  So that’s precisely what we did.  My friend Sara and I laid in a park all afternoon.  I didn’t read, didn’t sleep, didn’t listen to music.  Just laid there and felt the wind and watched leaves moving on the trees.  It was absolutely glorious.

I have photos, but I don’t want to post them.  I do not want to think about artwork, about RISD, about anything even remotely related to it for a minimum of two weeks.  The skyline of Boston speeds closer from my seat on this airport bus.  Tomorrow morning, I leave for Washington, where it is with the utmost happiness I will reunite with my dear extended family.  From there, I’m off to Oregon to visit a friend from NOLS, and after that, I plan to spend every possible millisecond of my free time in Alaska in the mountains.

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