Far From the Sea

For the first time since being back in Carlisle I woke up feeling momentarily confused. Where's the sea? The sun? Maybe it's because yesterday I saw Fernando and Luis, who are in town for a brief visit. But it's ok: looking out the window at our little garden, the quiet neighborhood... this is a good place to be. We've been in NY twice in recent weeks and the excitement of Manhattan is an experience I enjoy tremendously, but I'm not complaining about being here. Walking through the Dickinson library yesterday afternoon with Fernando and Luis reminded me just how lucky I am. (And curious to think that Steve and Noah were walking through the same library just hours earlier. It was great to see them here, even though it was so briefly.) Places... what an incredible luxury to have the time to even consider the advantages of one over another. And how about all those expansive, mainly-empty-of-human forests between here and Ithaca! (Good luck finding anything remotely like that in Europe!) Every time we drive up there I get such an urge to just veer off to the west a little, spend a few days exploring the great Pennsylvania wilderness. One of these days... As Asun and I were driving back to Carlisle, having dropped off Cristina and visited too briefly with the Ohlstens (Arcadia north!), we talked about how lucky Alma and Cristina are: the opportunities! Yes, they are fortunate indeed. Higher education in this country is quite a universe. It's so easy to criticize! True, many of us have had the experience of speaking with a college graduate and thinking, wait a minute, a college graduate? Did this person learn anything? Etc, etc. And it's so easy to make fun of college course catalogues. And we pay good money so they can study... this? But, the opportunities are truly fantastic. Young people, but certainly not just the young, in this country have spectacular opportunities, and you sure don't need to go to Cornell or other elite schools to get them. Even community colleges can be impressive gateways. I guess what I'm getting at is the notion that we live in a society that is impressively fluid in terms of socioeconomic mobility. Elites are not predetermined. Well, we talked about that for a while and it helped overcome the sadness of saying bye to Cristina.
(Last night I saw Peg and Mac for the first time in two years. Poor Mac had a major stroke ten months ago, but he seems to be recovering well. He's walking, talking, and it was just great to see him. Mac, you're right, in spite of it all, it keeps getting gooder and gooder!)