lunadelcorvo: (Fox on Pilgrimage)
Do you know how there are iconic elements in every story of a journey? Things like the 'call to the quest;' the thing that hits the protagonist and sets him or her out on the journey. We all have it. Maybe it's the life-changing moment, the sudden realization, or the determination to fulfill a lifelong dream.

There is an element of the journey that has become pertinent to me recently. It's the 'place of safe haven.' The seeker finds himself there often by accident, unexpectedly. Maybe she is injured and seeks help from a local wise-woman, or he is forced to wait out the winter in some distant and welcoming place, or are shipwrecked on a pleasant island. Maybe it's someplace discovered by accident, without calamity, and the seeker chooses to linger for a bit. The 'hero' spends time there, rests, grows, learns.

There comes a time when he or she realizes they could stay, even that they want to. They could do good things in this place, maybe even great things. It would be a worthy life, a true path to follow. But it would mean setting aside the quest, the original destination. It's a temptation, but the seeker must bid farewell and journey on.

Well, for me, I think it's time I moved on from medieval studies. I wanted it to have been my destination, I really did. And I love it, I really do. I could do good things here, maybe even great things. It would be a worthy endeavor. But when I began, I had a different reason that drove me; a different path before me. And that path is calling me.

The thing is, it's a nutty world. There are so many things happening in the US, and elsewhere, that need to be addressed. The extreme right-wing; the ultra conservatives; the theocratic, dominionist, and militaristic Christian movements; the abomination calling itself the 'Tea Party.' And then there are the global climate issues, the ever-spiraling levels of corporate corruption and power, the inexpressibly urgent need for us to move to sustainable systems, and those that want to keep us from doing so, so they can keep their slices of power as the world collapses around them, as it will. And a lot of these things are connected, in ways that the media doesn't talk about, and the public isn't aware of. They are connected and they operate in ways that smart, educated, literate people don't get. People here, in academia, don't get it. And they need to! We all need to understand how the forces in our world work, what they want, and how they are getting it, and too many of us don't.

That's why I started this journey. I wanted to be part of that discussion, part of bringing to light the ways in which some of these seemingly disparate entities are connected and how the operate, because our futures may depend on it. My son's future may depend on it. If and when I choose to go further in academia, if I choose to go for a PhD, I've come to realize, it won't be here in the Middle Ages. I love the medieval studies, I really do. And I have learned so much here, and it has made the issues of today that much clearer; I can use what I have learned here out there, in the world as it is now.

I'd love to stay here, with heretics and saints and Dante and crusades and manuscripts. But I can't. I have work to do, and it's work that needs doing. And if I would never dare claim myself anyone's hero, still, I need to do it for myself, and for my son. So, I'll finish building the fence, help bring in the crop, wait for the pass to clear, or whatever it is that remains to be done before the journey can continue, but continue it will.

Like every traveler, I will promise to come back when the task is done. But we've all read the books, and we know it's not likely. Makes it easier to pack up and say goodbye though.....


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Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities



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