Monday, November 15, 2010

The Intended

Well, the choice is made. Eleanor applied for an early decision to a college that is eleven hours away by road. We'll know in a month if they will accept her for next year.

She's been asking for copies of some of her favorite books. She got a nice, leatherbound copy of the Narnia stories for her birthday in August, she already has The Lord of the Rings and The Borribles, and we might need to get her a set of the Harry Potter books.

Probably she'll leave the framed print of the Lady of Shalott that she carried in her suitcase all the way home from the Tate Gallery when she was six years old. She may leave the seascape she picked out when she was nine from the children's gallery at a local arts festival. But I wonder if she'll take her Hiroshige print.

I'll be thinking about this poem, Mary Ruefle's "The Intended," all the next month:

One wants so many things...
One wants simply, said the lady,
to sit on the bank and throw stones
while another wishes he were standing
in the Victoria and Albert Museum
looking at Hiroshige's Waterfall:
one would like to be able to paint
like that, and Hiroshige wishes
he could create himself out of the
Yoro sea spray in Mino province where
a girl under the Yoro waterfall wants
to die, not quite sure who her person is,
but that the water falls like a sheet of tin
and another day's thrown in the sieve:
one can barely see the cherry blossoms
pinned up in little buns like the white hair
of an old woman who was intended for this hour,
the hour intended to sit simply on the bank
at the end of a long life, throwing stones,
each one hitting the water with the tick of
a hairpin falling in front of a mirror.

When "another day's thrown in the sieve," there have to be a few remembrances caught in the bottom--a story, a picture, a shoe so old it has the imprint of a foot in its sole.

14 comments:

Lass said...

I hope she gets her first choice - 11 hours away isn't so bad...

Jeanne said...

Lass, thanks. And spoken like a true Texan!

FreshHell said...

Best of luck to her!

kittiesx3 said...

Don't faint but I liked that poem.

Jeanne said...

FreshHell, thanks!

Elizabeth, you...what? *topples over, insensible*

readersguide said...

11 hours is nothing! (I am keeping my fingers crossed.)

Jeanne said...

Readersguide, how long would it take you to drive to your older child's college? (I'm trying to impress readers outside the US!)

kittiesx3 said...

Also the nice thing about 11 hours (which isn't that much in the grand scheme of the lower 48 states) is that you must plan your visits. So even if you were tempted to be a Velcro mom, you couldn't be. But it's not so far that if she needed you ASAP you couldn't get there.

Jenny said...

Completely second the sentiment about 11 hours not being so bad. My family used to drive to Maine every summer! Which was three days! You can do eleven hours in a day, if you have two drivers with stamina.

Very very best of luck to her.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Good luck! The whole college application process can be so nerve wracking. 11 hours is a drive, but not terrible.

Also, I love the last two lines of that poem - just beautiful.

Jodie said...

I think blogger just ate my comment, so I'll just repeat the important bit - Good luck to your daughter!

Jeanne said...

Thank you all for your perspectives on distance; they really do help me put it in a better perspective. Just thinking about Louisiana to Maine (or what I was coaxing RG to reveal, the number of days it might take to drive from California to Maine) does make 11 hours feel not so bad...I was hoping she'd like the school that's only 3 hours away. But it's not the one for her!

Avid Reader said...

That's exciting and scary all smashed together. I hope she gets in and that it's what she wants in the end.

I remember seeing The Lady of Shalott at the Tate for the first time and just falling in love. At least she'll be surrounded by books and paintings that remind her of home.

Jeanne said...

Avid Reader, it's hard not to fall in love with that particular painting at the Tate; it's so lush and romantic!