There’s an internet meme that says, “All of my friends are getting married. I’m just getting more awesome.” Since, last time I checked, approximately 42.86% of my friends are skipping blithely down the nuptial pathway--skyping or canoodling with significant others on Tuesday nights while I study or drink (alone)--I’ve adopted this motto for my post-grad plans. Those of my classmates who aren’t getting married will probably be attending grad school in the fall for some degree in, like, levinasian hermeneutics or domestic life in Orvieto in the 16th century. Me? I’m going to trot off to the woods with my English degree in one hand and Thoreau in the other to live intentionally.
I’ll be spending the next five months not on the banks of Walden pond but in the Shenandoah Valley, just south of Roanoke, Virginia at Seven Springs Farm, close to where Annie Dillard wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I’m looking forward to living in a little shack without potable running water, cooking outdoors, watching the sun rise over the fields, and never writing another term paper or taking another final exam again. My mother, raised on a farm herself, doubts whether my high-heel-and-skirt-wearing self will last very long, but I’m sure that my complete failure to create a backup plan will ensure I live the gentleman-farmer dream for the full stint, hunkered down over wood coals and smothered with bug spray and sunscreen. Did I mention there won’t be air conditioning?
Thanks to Hillsdale, my extensive knowledge of Medieval poetry and Plato has made me an invaluable asset to cocktail parties to come. I also know most of the lyrics to any one of two dozen Irish drinking songs and how to order a beer without looking like a fool, so basically I'm set. This Saturday, I will emerge like a butterfly out of a chrysalis a stronger, more elevated and refined version of the slobbering and fearful child of eighteen who stepped foot on campus four years ago. My parents will hardly recognize this exemplary specimen of womanhood.
But I’m tired. I need sunshine. While my brain has become a thing of beauty, my adrenal gland is shot, I have permanent bags under my eyes, and my skin has taken on that greenish-glow which signifies early-onset LCD-induced cancer. So while everyone else hunkers down to enjoy nuptial bliss, you’ll find me at Seven Springs Farm, sweating away and covered with axle grease and dirt. I’ll be getting more awesome.