Friday, May 15, 2009

packing up the circus

I have four weeks left in Australia. The nearing proximity of my departure doesn't seem real to me. I feel like I've been studying at murdoch for at least a year. I can barely remember my last semester at penn state, and can't really recall what it's like to live in state college. I can look back at pictures, but it all seems less "real" than this semester has been. I guess that's sort of what I set out to do with study abroad - distance myself from the collegiate routine that has composed my first 2.5 years of university academia. I've definitely accomplished that. In a sense, I feel revitalized, recharged and raring to go at one more year of penn state. The experience has also opened my eyes to how close-mindedly I have viewed the world, and my place in it. There's an entire planet of experiences, and I've sampled a very pathetically small portion of it. I've resolved to travel the world at some point. Back to reality, though. With only four weeks left - four weeks that will probably be consumed by finals, last experiences, and goodbyes - I feel like I've finished already. It's hard to believe that most of the friendships I've made here are more or less going to fade away, like happy friendship wounds becoming happy friendship scars. Macabre analogy, I know.

So I sort of meant for this post to contain things that have been happening to me lately, but in an infinitely more productive investment of my time, I've written a short story about a woodsman who travels to a foreign land.

Yes, it is a true story, and yes, it is based upon recent events in my life.

A Story
Imagine a grassy, wooded land of limited appeal. You were raised there, you made acquaintences, you had dreams, you built a sturdy log cabin in the wilderness from which you operated your small moose pelt business. One day, wandering the far reaches of the forest, you stumble upon the border of your woodland home, formed by an impossibly deep ravine. Squinting your eyes, you convince yourself that there is a blurred outline of land on the other side. There's something strange about that smudge, that distant possibility, that you can't seem to place. Turning to leave, you gasp and collapse unexpectedly. Light-headed and reeling, and you're seized with a spiritual feeling that you've never felt before, in all your years of moose trapping. Something wild, hot and primal has gripped you with the iron grip of a platypus; you feel it enter your tangled and confused mind, feel it sniff out your dreams, feel it lay a perfect marsupial dream egg. Barely a minute later, you wake in a cold sweat at the edge of the ravine. Shaken, you return to your cabin, visions of wonder and amazement swirling about your head. You sleep. You dream. Hot, arid dreams of adventure, each wondrous moment holding more excitement than the last.

Waking in the morning, you find your thoughts clouded by sleepiness. The events of the previous day seem unlikely, you persuade yourself, so you set off to check your traps. The first trap is empty. The second trap is not. A dying moose, held tight by the cunning design of your contraption, lies there majestically. As you gaze into the creature's huge amber eyes, it suddenly speaks. "I will take you there," it rumbles. The moose does not move it's lips, but you hear the voice in astounding volume. The thunderously deep moose voice resounds in your skull, and the events of the other day are shaken into perfect clarity. You realize exactly what the moose is offering. Resolution grimly writ on your humble woodsman face, you release the beast from the trap. It shudders, rises, and kicks you in the face. Bright lights pirhouette in front of your eyes, then the world goes dark.

"Rise" says a voice. With a calm that you cannot comprehend, you realize that you are now a moose.
Opening your eyes, you struggle to stand. Your four hooves seem unable to find purchase in the leafy undergrowth, but after several trials, you stand. You run. Great galloping moose strides. You know exactly which direction to go. The forest races by. You reach the crevasse. You leap.

(that was for you, Dad)


  1. Very Kafka (the writer of course!)but nice and interesting, that's the kind of things happen when you live "down under" really...?
    I like it...
    By the way your family is coming to Costa Rica in two days more...
    When you go back to USA, plan your trip passing throw Costa Rica, We gonna waiting for you!
    Enjoy Australia, but do not eat kangaroos!
    best regards,
    Alejandro Villalobos

  2. Es verdad! Australia es muy loco, a veces. I'm very jealous of my family for getting to spend time with you and your family in Costa Rica. It figures that the first time I leave the country for an extended period of time, my whole family goes on a tropical vacation! I will make sure to be on the next visit, you can count on that. Take good care of mi familia!