when i pick up a new book, the first thing i do is flip to the last page and read the final paragraph.the great gatsby came to me in ms. chalmers 11th grade AP english class and i knew the moment i read the final words that it was something very special.
“so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”
over the years, i’ve considered the great gatsby to be my favourite book — a tragic story of love and loss woven together in the age of jazz. but my love of gatsby went further than just the story, i became fascinated by the man behind the words, the author, f. scott fitzgerald.
“show me a hero and i’ll write you a tragedy”
five years ago, i received a treasure. i received a 1925 first edition, first printing of the great gatsby. to say this is a rare find is an understatement. to say that it’s one of my most favourite possessions is also an understatement.
i can’t tell you exactly why this book means so much to me, it just does. it’s a piece of the past, with its delicately yellowed pages and its history of unknown readers, and somehow, it makes me feel closer to mr. fitzgerald and mr. gatsby. and that makes me happy.
the latest film version of the great gatsby premiers today. i’ll be checking it out. and i’ll be hoping it does justice to mr. fitzgerald’s words.
(love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation)
it’s four years later, and i still can’t believe how lucky i was to share sixteen years of my life with the siamese cat i called chloe.
one look into her piercing azure eyes that november day in 1993, and i was hooked. she came home with me that evening and never left. i was enchanted by her stubby tail, her deliciously chocolately seal points, and the gaze i came to realize was laden with wisdom and truth and understanding. she was quiet yet fierce, intensely loyal, and always the embodiment of beauty and grace. she was the best of everything good i’ve ever known.
the years treated us well, save for a few mishaps — most notably the window ledge incident and the porch roof escapade — but we survived the adventures, and she was always there to curl up with me at the end of each day and quietly lull me to sleep with her velvety purr.
it was a good life, filled with pillows and smiles and nicknames and sunbeams. and love, so much love.
it was a life well-lived.
the lymphoma and renal failure eventually slowed her step and tired her body, but there was always a twinkle of fire in her eyes, and when she looked at me that saturday morning in may, i knew. it was time. there was only one thing left for me to do.
and so, on that clear, sunny morning, joined by the people who loved her, i said goodbye to my sweet, sweet girl — my chloe.
today, as yesterday, and as tomorrow,
she is missed as she was loved –
g r e a t l y .
by request of carl sagan, NASA commanded the voyager 1 spacecraft, having completed its primary mission and now leaving the solar system, to turn its camera around and take this photograph of earth — the pale blue dot, against the vastness of space.
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
yes, please, lets do what carl says — today and every day.
six years ago today, blood was shed in a place that was my home.
i pause today to remember.
we are virginia tech.
the hokie nation embraces our own and reaches out with open hearts and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. we are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. we are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. we are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.
we are the hokies.
we are virginia tech.
this is me.
surrounded by a magic light that carries with it the promise of spring. and warmth. and love.
this is me, at a place that is both familiar and foreign, realizing that the choice is mine.
realizing i can take the same steps — the ones i know by heart — or i can close my eyes and journey inward, instead.
i’ve a feeling that’s where all the answers reside, anyway. and all the questions, too. even the ones i’ve yet to ask.
this is me embarking.