I’m doing something a little different this week! The following is a short reflection I wrote for a class I’m taking on personhood and interspecies communication. We drew cards from an animal medicine deck in class, then looked for ways the animal + interpretation influenced our lives. I thought I’d share it here!
Last week was hard for me: I was sick, I was rushing to finish a teaching portfolio, I was anxious about my defense. But it stopped mattering as soon as I hit Friday afternoon, all of it, and do you know why? Well, I’ll be honest, it was in part because my thesis defense went really well. Actually it was exactly the conversation I needed—not overly full of praise, but a thoughtful and insightful questioning of the themes and narrative threads I’ve been trying to work into my book—and that obviously made me feel strong, and confident, but also lighter than air. But it was also because I hit the road, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s a road trip.
Somehow, without my consent, the madness of March bled into April, and my own birthday snuck up on me this year. I’d known it was coming, made plans, went to Disneyland thinking about it…and still, when I woke up on the 15th, I couldn’t really believe it was already here. This is the peril, I think, of getting older. You have so many things to do—usually fun things, sometimes boring things, but always something—that anticipation slips away from you, and time no longer crawls. So I turned 28, and now I’m just getting a second to sit down and think about it, what that really means, and what I want to accomplish in the next year.
When I told people last week that my family was taking a vacation to Disneyland together, those who knew me went straight from, “Oh wow, how fun!” to “Wait, all of you?” to “Really, Disneyland?” They knew that in my family there are now four adult children, ranging from adultish-adults (Rachelle) to part-time adults (Sam & I) to newly-minted adults (Garrett). My parents, as far as I’m concerned, have always been adults. Disneyland—a theme park obsessively built and designed for children—might not be the obvious choice for a crew like ours. But that’s where you’d be wrong. Not only did we have an incredible trip, complete with ups and downs that ended in one final harrowing ride in a minivan from LA to Fresno to catch a flight, I might argue it was better than even trips we took as kids.
I think sometimes when I talk about the ranch, people are confused about what we “do” there. It’s a question I get every now and then, as if it’s mystifying what someone might do out in the woods for a weekend. I try not to begrudge them the question, it’s coming from a genuine place. It can be hard to imagine, when you’re in the hustle and bustle of city life, stepping out of it. No happy hours, no Netflix, no friends to call, no readings, no gallery openings, no shopping, no wifi. I sometimes feel that way too, the evidence is in the bag I pack: it’s full of books, notebooks, pens and paper for drawing (I don’t draw?), other art projects I might get to, my computer, magazines.