Friday, September 5, 2008

Back at School, No Friends

My life right now is pretty dominated by the fact that 1) I have returned to Gustavus for what is apparently my last semester and 2) everyone I know in more than passing has either graduated or gone on sabbatical. Which means that I am 1) very alone on the Hill and 2) looking forward very much to my breaks.

This isolation, at least in this first week, has also helped me focus on myself in a way I've not been able to do for quite a while. In many ways, it's like my first semester in England, except I've so far been spared the intense depression and homesickness of that fall. I've found that I'm concentrating more on my school work, that I am eating healthier than usual, and that I am drawn more into my philosophical musings which have gone unheeded since the spring of 2007.

To that end, I've started thinking about nonviolence and pacifism again. Namely, I'm starting to wonder how I am exemplifying the pacifist beliefs which I so strongly hold. The truth is, I really don't know if I am. Obviously, I'm not going around and picking fights, but pacifism goes beyond that sort of tension-releasing violence. Pacifism, as I once described it, is constant action in order to prevent the occurrence of violence. Am I doing this at all?

I'm also not cooking right now, but the last few mornings, I have awoken to the most treasured thing man has ever given another man: domesticated coffee beans. Now, I've had coffee before, but it's been months since I drank it on a cool morning, in my preferred manner of Turkish grind and boiling water. Those months nearly made me forget just how wonderful a pleasure warm, nutty, rich coffee is, about an hour after waking, about an hour before the day's activities start. I think it's entirely possible that, given a stack of books, a larder of beans and rice, and a lot of green coffee beans, I could spend a year almost anywhere completely alone.

But why would I want to?