There exist aspects of life that are truly astounding, as anyone can attest to. However, what must be subsequently fathomed is that, along with the blatantly significant facets of our life, there are waves of infinity in each blink of the eye, in every rejuvenating release of the clouds and the accompanying scent of petrichor, in a moment’s passing, in the essence of any singular thought. The purpose of this column is to peer into experiences that many have daily—only in such a manner that is likely unfathomed—to promote a more substantial appreciation of such things.
- Beckett Wilkinson, Column Author
Time is moving fast, as is life. We are the raindrops comprising the joyously puffy clouds in the broad horizon of UVA—inseparable from our source—as we attend lectures and discussions. When so much knowledge fills the room, up to the sky, how might we falter? The truth of our closeness does not end where our minds begin the day, nor does it dispute the healthy prospect of overflowing within us. Perhaps when we become ill, we are exhibiting the mere surplus of conceptuality, which we have assimilated without effort or notice. During this type of hindrance, time moves fast, but life moves more slowly, and we are forced to contemplate this notion, given the point at which acquiring the raspy voice and the congestion becomes somewhat inevitable. We each share our minds, our homes, our food, and our goals, to be sure, but also what halts us—from community tragedy to foul weather, to spreading sickness.
Oh, how we are irritated! To be ill is inconvenient, and it perpetually is conflated with the notion that our health is only questionable during the busiest periods. An essay is due, midterms are approaching, an interview is tomorrow, friends are going out this weekend, and chores need to be tended to. Yes, all concurrently, yet illness has taken its toll, and after weeks of a cycle of feat after feat, we are forced to do the essence of nothing, such that every breath exacts twice the time, every sniffle struggles against the weight of inhaling the manifestation of so many aspects of life that can become overwhelming. Then it occurs to us that we have not been resting, nor adequately satisfying our needs—four hours of sleep each night and mild dehydration, no time to reflect, and no patience with ourselves. Still, we reject the possibility that our immense productivity could ever feasibly be detrimental, and we continue to try with the same confidence and ambition.
Cold sweat, shallow breathing, sizzling forehead, lightheadedness—we are not invincible. After taking a hot shower and deciding that we prefer steam as air, along with being clarified by the water from above, perchance we return to bed. The covers are heavy, yet they are soothing, such that the weight of our lives no longer falls upon us each time we breathe—astoundingly, our lungs are being tested, yet we can, at last, sigh with reprieve. Over and over, we exhale the cycle until we definitively defy it by falling asleep in the middle of a day filled to the brim with potential for progress.
Our eyes open reluctantly, and our latent desire to speak to ourselves restfully is actualized, albeit through a suppressed, feeble rendition of our voices, until we clear our throats and take something for a headache, and as the dull pounding behind the scalp and eardrums slow to the rhythm of the ticking metronome of retrospection, we begin to realize that each of our senses is less intelligible than is usual—something that is both uncomfortable and discouraging. At this moment—seemingly never before—may we rest introspectively. Do the clouds sympathize? Puddles splash out the window from the frolicking of frivolous peers, indeed, and if not literally, then we are convinced that this day is a rainy one, where a singular cloud spans the entire sky, and the sun, too, finds tranquility and solace. More medication to ease the cough.
And thus, time remains a blur, but life creeps by gradually. Through emails to professors, messages to friends, and the beat of opening Netflix, it has become official that today is a day of solitude and relaxation. No, this sentiment will apply to the next few days in succession, most definitely, until this ailment has passed, and the fixation of the body and spirit has faded into obsolescence. Only then will we truly be bolstered to the necessary extent to be who we desire to be, nearly to suggest that, in the absence of an illness at a time like this, we more than likely would lack the wherewithal to convince ourselves to pause in our endeavors to recuperate in this fashion? Therefore, while coming down with something is certainly an unideal probability of being a college student, there are methods of fashioning this idea into something equally as—or more—productive than a nonstop sequence of faulty triumphs, such as the satisfaction of completion after a 16-hour day of fulfilling various obligations.
These words do not serve superfluously. But if they were mere bugs on the wall that chatter lightly and incoherently, then even they would not instruct the reader one way or another. Rather, they inform or console, and nothing more. In the most appalling of moments is our purpose clarified, however, so we shall embrace the opportunity should it arise. Nothing compares to misfortune nor splendor—clouds open up, they segment here and there, and as the sunlight begins to peer through episodically, we are eventually left waiting at the end of the rainbow, with a single white, puffy cloud overhead.