Looking Ahead to Summer

Some weeks are created better than others. Sometimes life decides to run at you, screaming and flailing like a bad Jackie Chan impersonator and junk-punches you into oblivion. It’s been one of those weeks when enough has gone wrong that I just had to laugh when a passing car hit a puddle and soaked me on the way to class because it was just too cliché to exist in the real world.

I’ve yet to determine exactly where this week went wrong, though an educated guess would put it somewhere between losing hundreds on a cancelled music festival and having a good chunk of my friend group almost die in a car crash — they’re fine, save for a slightly dented cast iron skillet. Much like Godzilla retreating back into the sea after a particularly nasty defeat, I find weeks like this to be a good opportunity to kick back and look ahead to a less catastrophic time. So this is my half-hearted stab at optimism for the future, a silver lining for this premature finals week I seemed to be trapped in.

First off, it’s finally beginning to look like spring — or at least it’s the first fake-out of the season. I know this because I can’t pick my feet up without slipping on wet ice, and I can’t leave my residence hall without smelling a year’s worth of death and decay coupled with thawing dog poop. Offensive aroma aside, this means I’m much closer to being able to use my tent than I previously thought. In all honesty I’ve had my tent set up in my living room in lieu of a bed for the past week anyway, but since my roommates have discouraged me from building a fire out there, it’s probably about time to head outside.

In a similar vein, the rivers and lakes are slowly thawing out and the day is getting closer when I can launch a kayak without turning it into an impromptu sled. Not only that, but come summer my friends and I can go dipnetting, ensuring that we can be simultaneously poor and well fed for next semester. That’s the main bit I’m looking forward to, having the ability and opportunity to take off for the weekend and camp in the woods without having to incessantly check Blackboard to determine whether or not I’ve failed calculus. It doesn’t require calculus to set up a tent or hike a mountain, and the older I get the more I begin to appreciate that fact.

Next up, thanks to the disappointing cancellation, I have a spare plane ticket now. Granted, I have to pay an ungodly amount of money to reschedule it, but the thought of a solo Hawaii backpacking trip in the fall is quickly becoming feasible. Now, I’m not going to pretend like this isn’t a thinly veiled excuse to search for the smoke monster (and/or polar bears) from “Lost,” but I’m sure I’ll fit other plans into the trip as well.

I could probably go just about anywhere with this ticket — assuming I find a way to finance it that doesn’t involve standing on street corners — but I feel like Alaskans have a special fascination with Hawaii. It’s hard to even process the notion that a tropical island exists where food grows on trees and moose aren’t constantly playing Frogger on the highways. So while I could certainly head down to Costa Rica to see the sloths — which, believe me, is very tempting — Hawaii is closer and I have to assume that the sloths aren’t going anywhere fast.

So that’s my short list of optimism at the moment, and I’m starting to notice that most of them involve being outdoors. Maybe it’s due to the daylight we finally have or the fact that my willingness to attend college tends to fade about a month before the semester actually ends. Either way, I’ve got more than enough plans to keep my summer full; the only challenge is sticking out the remaining weeks before I can start.

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It’s the same cycle every year. I’m sure by the end of the summer I’ll have gotten sick of mosquitoes, manual labor and that horrendous English course I’ve signed up for. But until then, the thought of summer is fueling the last remnants of academic effort I’m able to muster.