Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 18: Cameras are so literal.

Today's Sonnet 18 was followed by an awesome walk with Mama around our neighborhood. We got some fresh air early in the day, and also a chance to chat: I filled her in on the latest and greatest at my workplace while she told me about hers! We also talked about self-identity -- how one gets it, how one uses it, and how one keeps it. This came up when I mentioned my idea of assembling a "Happy Box" -- a container filled with messages that make me smile, and have nothing to do with "credentials" or "achievements." When I am looking for ways to inspire myself or cheer myself up, transcripts and  résumés mean little compared to that card from an advisor, that post from a role model, or that letter from a lifelong mentor. These are, in short, personal.

When we returned home, instead of working in the yard like I was supposed to, I got to work composing a sonnet which Mama had flippantly suggested that I write about an event at Coldstone Creamery which Laura and I had recounted to her the night before. Here it is!

Sonnet 9 (Ode to a Rose)

When I have fears that I may cease to be,
before my spoon has gleaned my teeming cup,
it seems to me, 'twould be a travesty,
had I not even chance to say, "what's up?"
You served my Laura with 'bundant sweet cream,
but charged her only for the smallest size.
Already, she'd begun to live a dream,
'miring it all--your lips your nose, your eyes.
I said that in your face I saw a rose,
a visage that could ne'er hold malintent.
I urged and prodded, pushed her to propose--
alas, by then, our shame had all been spent.
And yet, by heav'n, our love deserves such fame
as that of any girl who knows your name.

After this facetious fun, it was time to get to work. I spent the next few hours researching and writing Certamen questions for the first tournament of this year, which will take place on October 15th. For those of you who are not familiar, Certamen is a Jeopardy-style academic competition in which teams vie to flaunt their knowledge of the Classics. This activity was an enormous part of my middle school and high school education, and I owe my coaches and teammates an unbelievable amount for making me the nerd I am today. Helping the Senior Classical League write questions for Kick-Off really is the least we graduates can do. Because my area of strength is Language, I wrote a number of Grammar questions for the two sets I am compiling in conjunction with my bro Woojin. I think we have some very nice rounds coming together, and I can't wait to hear what all you JCLers think of them when I moderate at the tournament in October!

Having nearly completed my share of the two rounds, I decided to treat myself to the cultural experience Jessie had described to me on Friday -- the drum circle at Meridian Hill Park! As Papa and I approached the urban haven, we could determine its exact location merely by the amazing rhythms we were hearing from blocks away. When we arrived, the scene of diversity in front of us was unbelievable. People of all ages, races, and income levels had congregated, holding all sorts of varied percussion instruments, to unite in one song. The beat was perfectly organic -- there was no one conductor and no set program. One musician would simply start playing, thereby inviting others to join in. There isn't really a way to describe it (my camera certainly couldn't capture it), so I really suggest you see it for yourself! This spectacle takes place from around 5 to 9 every Sunday until it snows, at Meridian Hill Park in Washington, D.C. 

Jessie arrived shortly after we did, and, although she hurt her tailbone playing soccer this morning, immediately invited me to dance! We entered the corridor between the lines of drummers, and the energy was unreal. We partied it up for song after song, before finally wrenching ourselves away and heading in the direction of our car. I am so glad we went on this adventure tonight and got to see Jessie, and I can't wait to spend the day with her at work tomorrow! What a magical way to end a marvelous day.

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