I wonder how far I’ve slid from my past self, because some days past-me feels miles away. In an instant, in the blink of an eye, I feel like I am half the human I once was.
I had a moment on Friday. It was a feeling of nostalgia for a moment that I was currently experiencing. In the moment, I thought to myself, “in the future, I will feel nostalgic for this moment in time.”
After the genetics and evolution exam, Kristin, Sara, Bonnie, Kaki, and I went to Cacao in Virginia Highland for hot chocolate. The store reminded me of a European chocolate store. Clean walls. A glass display with beautiful handmade chocolates. A long bar with seating. The lights glowed a warm yellow and big windows faced the street. The windows framed the gray day. Autumn clouds hid the sun such that only a cool gray light snuck through the sky. The trees were on fire: golden and chestnut. Inside the chocolate boutique enveloped us in a feeling of warmth, highlighted by the grayness of the world outside. The warmth came from both the yellow lighting and the company of good friends. It was a feeling of fullness in spending time with good people, good conversation, and (of course) good chocolate. I wanted to freeze that moment, that autumn afternoon, that feeling. I wanted to save it like a clip from a movie so that I could revisit it (watch it from an out-of-body experience if you will) in later years.
Capture, save, revisit. Like a “feeling vault.” I’m imagining a hall (like the hall of prophecies in Harry Potter). The hall would have little orbs glowing all sorts of colors. The orbs would be lined neatly on shelves and there would be rows and rows of shelves. Each orb would hold a memory and it would be labeled with a feeling. And when I need to feel that feeling again, I could pick up the orb and revisit that moment in time.
Life has been so good these past two weeks. My small group came over for dinner on Friday night, friends came over for homemade yogurt on Saturday, I FINALLY climbed at Stone Summit, went on some runs (the weather is a bit cooler in the AM), heard the Vega Quartet play Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 7 and (last but not least) spent some quality time with Neil Gaiman on Friday and Saturday night.
But that’s not what I want to focus on for the rest of the blog post. I want to rewind to last weekend. I’ve been itching to write about last weekend’s trip to Bryson City, NC where I went whitewater kayaking with some other med students. Seven M1s and two M2s went on the trip. Right after our exam, we left for NC. Three hours later, we pulled up to our cabin. That night, Maddie and I slept in her tent. It was a wonderfully clear night so we didn’t put the fly up and we could see the sky and stars.
Saturday morning I drove out to Amicalola Falls in Northern GA. I left Atlanta at 6:30 am to beat the traffic. Driving on the country roads reminded me of North Carolina. They were like the roads that I drove on to get to Maple view or the pumpkin patch farms. The trails around Amicalola reminded me of the forests in NC. It reminded me of my trip with Ang to Chimney Rock and Asheville. It reminded me of the Duke Forest trails. Where NC 751 cuts through the forest. It reminded me how in the fall, the leaves would coat the ground in a layer of crinkly loveliness that glinted under the afternoon sun. It reminded me of the countless runs I ran after taking tests or after doing problem sets all morning and afternoon. Oh, the wonderful influx and rush of air. It’s sharp. It’s fresh. This is what it’s like to breathe. While at Amicalola, I felt jealous of Duke students and how lucky they are to have the Duke forest in their backyard. Of how they have access to those wonderful trails in 10 minutes by running while here, it takes 1.5 hours of driving.
I drove out to Cochran Shoals, a state park bordering the Chattahoochee River, on Sunday morning. I got to the parking lot at 7:10 am and snagged one of the last parking spots. there were tons of trail runners and cyclists. The temperature had cooled down, but a mile into the run and I was hot and sticky and drenched in sweat. Although the humidity was still miserable, the temperature was (ever so) slightly cooler–I could almost imagine the crispness in the air. My thoughts drifted to apple cider and cinnamon and pumpkin spice. It drifted to cold, gray mornings in Paris that were nevertheless magical because the gray was punctuated by glimmering golden orbs of light glowing from cafes and apartments and tree branches. My mind drifted to the colorful lights swimming in the water around the Montreux Christmas Market. To memories of bundling up under sweaters and scarves and gloves, ready to brace the sharpness of the air, but feeling warm and happy from the lights, window displays, colorful candies, hot fondue, and roasting chestnuts. It drifted to the beautiful red, orange, and yellow foliage and to a feeling of rejuvenation. More thoughts on fall are sure to come.
I’m taking an 11 week meditation course called Cognitively-based Compassion Training (CBCT). This week (wk 2) we focused on attentional-stability. We meditated for 10 minutes, focusing our attention on our breaths. We also thought about a moment in our lives when we felt cared for and meditated on that feeling.
Hey y’all. I’m in a completely different mental place compared to 1.5-2 weeks ago. Last week, my college roommate got engaged!!! I am thrilled for her!
It’s funny how time goes by. Well, not funny. Just interesting. Time is like an open faucet, constantly flowing. This past week, I was sitting outside the med school eating lunch and saw some undergraduates moving in. It reminded me of when Michelle moved into Emory in 2008. The excitement. It reminded me of when I moved into Duke. Whilst studying in the library, I saw tour groups of new students. It reminded me of the tours I took at Duke as a new freshman. It reminded me of my past fear of getting lost at Duke. This past week, Snowlle got engaged. I’m so, incredibly happy for her. I did not expect that she would be the first of our friend group to get married. She didn’t either. Life moves on and flows in unexpected ways. From fears of finding the right building and classroom to finding life partners and just finding life paths. My heart fills with joy and love for the happy, newly engaged couple. It’s interesting how time goes by. The phone call from Noelle reminded me of the key to life. Take time from your own to-do list, full of your own ambitions, and connect with people so you don’t lose the moment because time doesn’t stop. We can lose everything–the meaning of life–in an instant by putting ourselves first.
So that’s what this weekend was all about: connecting–with friends old and new. Ang came in on Thursday. Friday night, Ang, Kay (her BA buddy), and I went out to Miller Union. It’s an upscale southern cuisine restaurant and it’s delicious. Favorite dish was an egg baked in cauliflower sauce paired with toasted bread. After, Ang and I went to Cecily’s to celebrate Cecily’s birthday. It was a small group of med students and we played Taboo and Anomia. Love board game nights. Saturday morning, I ran in Dr. Flowers’s Spirit Foundation 5K. Ang and I hit up my yoga studio for vinyasa yoga before getting Thai with Lindsay. We briefly went to Ormsby’s for Ana’s birthday before moving on to a Mck person’s going-away party. I got to reconnect with Justin from HS and Justin from Duke. Sunday, we went out for juice, acai bowls, and ginger shots (was NOT a fan of these…). (Ang is now a juice queen!) We hit up Ponce City Market. In the evening, my small group and I went to a Zombie escape room in Atlanta, which was heaps of fun.
Overall a superb weekend. I’ve so enjoyed having Ang over on the weekends. Even just sitting and talking in the living room is a blast and we laugh until our stomachs hurt. This is what life is about. Connections and laughter and smiles and sometimes tears. But mostly laugher and smiles. Hope everyone had a rejuvenating weekend and has a productive week ahead.