On Finishing, Persistance, & the reason for everything / by Christina Rosalie

I had no idea what my capacity for self discipline was when I began. No idea that two years and a book later, I'd sink to the grass on the Friday after turning in my thesis and cry tears of gratitude that it was all over. But that is what I did.

I lay with my arms akimbo; the grass pressing up into my palms and the clouds moving above me, a symphony of cirrus, and hungrily felt the weight of my body being tugged by gravity close to the barely wakening surface of the earth. How I've been longing for that: to feel my body next to the earth. To feel like I am of it, not just tangential to it. To feel my pulse thrumming steady and slow, keeping time with the pulse of the nearly blooming crab-apples and service berry.

In the weeks when I was finishing, the world was turning to spring: first the coltsfoot like a hundred thousand scattered suns along the muddy edges of the road; then the wood trillium, green and pale with purple freckles, poking up among the pine needles in the shade at the back of the yard along the stone wall. I knew these things because they happen every year, familiar and certain. But this year, I only saw the coltsfoot from the car windows and the trillium in passing. This year, the robins came one day while I was researching. It was the weekend. I remember. The boys were outside playing in the sandbox, and their voices would come lilting up to me through the cracked-open window, the smell of spring coming wild and cold through the screen. I remember glancing up to notice the way the sun was slipping westward, and then heard it. Warbling, golden, liquid: the setting sun in song.

I grew used to watching the day pass from the windows.

And really, it was one of the hardest things to full-out sprint for so long. To try and to keep trying, even when I was exhausted. To work, to go to class, to come home and play with my kids, and have dinner, and do all the bedtime choreography and then sit down to begin several hours of work. To miss the entire blooming of a day: to not have felt rain falling on my cheeks, or hail on my tongue. To have spent week after week circling myself, in front of the computer, making something happen.

And still, though it’s not a pace I could have kept forever, the thing that I feel now, already, after a few days with a little more rest--is that we give up on ourselves too easily too often.

We get the message all around us that things should be easy, and when they aren’t—especially for any prolonged length of time, we tend to panic—it’s hard not too.

But there is something to persisting, to showing up, and showing up, and finishing; to discovering that you are capable of more. It’s the only way, really, to find that out: to do the hard stuff, the impossible stuff, the stuff that makes you want to weep and yell and sing hallelujah all at once.

And now look! The world is full of wind. The treetops are fat with new sweet leaves. The goldfinches have arrived and the sky is full of cumulus and turbulence and new tomorrow will dawn new and bright—and this, this is the reason, again and again for everything.