winter broken.

by Michael King

If I were to boil my fall semester down to a single word, that word would be “rigorous.” The opening of a residence hall, the building of that community, the formation of individual hall staff members into a group. 120 hours of internship. A thesis to hit the ground running on. A group of talented and ambitious student leaders to support and challenge. It was a beautiful blur, yes, and it left me feeling exhausted. Wiped. When I arrived home at Mom and Dad’s for winter break, I needed to simply pause for a bit.

It’s been about three weeks, somehow. As I sit at this computer, I face the familiar feeling of wonder. How is it possible that I am about to embark on another semester-long journey? Thanks to this winter break, however, I know that I am ready.

O’Charley’s soup. White fudge Oreos hidden away for me. The thousandth mile of 2013. Dexter on Netflix (“the Gert”). Super Mario in a catsuit. The magic of Saving Mr. Banks. Popcorn and Diet Coke. Late nights. The Good Wife. The night we finished the puzzle only to find a single puzzle piece missing. Chex Mix and fried pickles for New Year’s. Uno, bullshit, euchre, and rummy. Tina on Bob’s Burgers. Food poisoning from Q’doba. Lunch with Grandma and Aunt Dee. Seeing Christmas magic again through my nieces and nephews. Lynnlee interrupting Silver Linings Playbook to inform us the bonus room was “a disaster.” Snow at the beginning and snow at the end. Calling people on Craigslist in search of a new pet. The leather-bound journal from far away. A night laughing with my high school friends and realizing we haven’t changed much yet. Warm reunions. Day-long football sessions. Family, friends. Too many calories, too little movement. Exactly what I needed. This is how I’ll remember this break.

A few days ago, I was sitting around at home (if you haven’t caught onto that pattern) and I received a text from my good friend Laura. Hailing from Minneapolis today, Laura originally came into my life as an Assistant Residence Hall Director (and graduate student) at Ball State when I was an RA at Stu West. The text indicated she was closing in on Brazil, Indiana. Within moments, we’d set plans to meet up and talk over coffee. Knowing me well, she added: “Don’t dawdle.” I didn’t.

LauraMike

Laura has also warned me not to put her business on Facebook, so I’ll summarize simply by saying it was a good thing to see my mentor again. She is still sharp and insightful, and she still makes me laugh. She also still keeps me very aware of my choice of words, which is an excellent thing.

As I wrap up this post, I prepare to take the last of my things and ride into Charleston ahead of the snowstorm. Before I know it, however, the snow will be melting and giving way to spring. Defended theses, blue commencement robes, exciting job announcements, tear-stained goodbyes. A great journey lies ahead; I would not be ready were it not for the beautiful peace of a sedentary winter break.

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