Let there be light, spring seems to say! More light, spring light, the light of the dawning of the furtherance of our higher education! Okay, ahem, please excuse this lofty language but doesn’t the oncoming reality of spring make any potential seem more plausible? This time of year, the subliminal becomes liminal in the light of day; likewise, dreams morph into reality when we activate our creative urges. Spring brings forth boundless possibilities for we denizens of AU, bunkered in our study corners all winter. But you don’t have to take my exuberant word for it. Alfred Lord Tennyson spoke precisely of this fecund landscape in his famous poem Locksley Hall “in Spring, when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” anything seems possible (Tennyson, online). And I do mean anything. Here at AU we can re-alight affection for our coursework as the season of sunlight draws its face to the surface of our academic being. March can live up to its name as we march forward with a song of academic success in our heart.
Even as winter may fail to wane in terms of weather, the days are indubitably getting longer. March allows us to stretch out, branch forth, and happily embrace our AU studies with renewed vigour. If spring hasn’t arrived literally, it’s on its way and already present in the spirit of our anticipation. Just knowing that study breaks can soon be out of doors amidst sunny warmth is enough to make this Fly on the Wall study a little harder in the meantime.
With the snow gusting its final gasps and the cold gnawing its penultimate gnaws, we may, in poetic fashion, find ourselves embodying the protagonist of Tennyson’s classic phrase. Turning to love can mean turning to the things we love to do and asking a timeless question: what drives us toward the desire to acquire? We can each in our way find ourselves turning to love and not least of which love of our coursework! Being AU students with (hopefully!) a certain heartfelt adoration for our subject matter the spirit of spring can aid our success.
Wellsprings of Desire; Many Beams of Sunlight on the Mind
If our fancies turn to love, or at least to the idea of scholarly devotion, the nature of desire itself is implicated. So here’s the thing; as desire is a subject that underpins every act in some way or another (either by moving us toward or away from some stimuli). so too does the desire for truth and finality animate visions of clairvoyance that dance in our minds. As such, longing and desire are fertile terrain for philosophical inquiry. Perhaps the springtime of our spirit personifies awareness of the possibility and inevitability of not only spring but, more essentially, the wellspring of our creative potential.
Speaking philosophically, spring has to be the most ontologically promiscuous of seasons. The nature of its being (its ontology) parallels the mysterious whims of nature itself; exigences of geography and climate make it hard to say what the month of March will bring. In like a lion and out like a lamb? Maybe, but who’s to say? And, anyway, being like something is different than being that thing itself; that’s the nature of an ontological concern. Speaking literally, I can attest that lambs grow into ornery rams in a matter of weeks whereas kitties with lion-like physiognomies and prideful affectations remain cute for a decade at least. At least! Likewise, an adorable, charming, and fun-loving elective course might turn into a snarling beast of a struggle for survival when the syllabus veers into unfamiliar and daunting terrain and drags you and your time along with it.
March, then, can be many things to many people in many places. Yet, in the certain realm of calendars, one thing is for sure: March means spring is on its way. The month personifies a gestation process followed by a partition beyond which spring has, well, sprung. As students who may falter or founder by the end of a long, dark, winter of studies, spring provides a springboard from which to leap into joyous discovery. Archimedes, in ancient Greece, personified the ecstasy of this sort of eureka moment: upon descending into a bathtub of water he realized the mathematical concept of displacement (Mahmood, online). His exit could not have been quicker; Archimedes sprang to his feet and proceeded to race naked through the streets shouting “eureka!” Eureka literally means “I’ve found it” and as such symbolizes our perpetual drive to acquire new knowledge in our studies; this deep curious need may propel our AU studies as much or more than any economic concerns (Mahmood, online).
March Mysteries Revealed Everywhere
March is far from a season for streaking, references to the movie Old School aside, yet clothing and academic inhibitions may appear diminished as the climate warms. Most importantly for our frazzled scholarly minds, fresh sunlight sets our brain cells aquiver. And that charge of new energy can only help our AU success.
March is also a magical time in terms of anticipation; anything seems possible as the sun shines and the earth thaws. It’s common knowledge that vitamin D improves mood; at the cognitive level, though, spring seems to provide an existential boost to our very being. Why do birds suddenly appear? In spring we may ask this free of cynicism. Presumably we are prone to notice birds on a happy spring day. But wait, why ask why? Spring bursts with a panoply of questions tendered and perhaps a greater comfort with creative flexibility.
In terms of growth and reproduction, spring embodies desire itself rather than the object of desire per se. This includes our personal academic missions. When all the world seems to be smiling we can achieve more clarity about what we want out of life. We can get to the core of the truth of our being. Desire for truth may be akin to desire for cosmic or carnal union with others; spring reminds us that there’s things out there made fantastically beautiful by changing seasons. Spring thus brings brightness to nature and also congeals the truths to our lives.
Jacques Derrida, ever-pleased to provide connective tissue between multiple interpretations of a given reality, noted that truth unfolds for us as we seek and learn it for ourselves. “Truth-separated from knowledge-is constantly determined as revelation, nonveiling, that is, necessarily, as presence, the presentation of the present” (Derrida, 11). Each living moment, then, contains the possible desire for, and pursuit of, truth. Our learning fertilizes us as we grow. So, what could bring us out of our comfortable shells and toward the mystery and ecstasy of learning new truths? The onset of spring, of course. Redolent of mythology and science (themselves each steeped in the necessity of rebirth) spring can appear as a rejuvenation of our desire to better ourselves through education. Each day of longer light illuminates the shining path of our studies to the extent that we soak up some rays. Next week we’ll dig deeper into the loam of spring and find ourselves as an embodiment of that most intellectually fertile of seasons.