Monday, December 5, 2011

Graduation and some thoughts on Eucatastrophe

Now that things have calmed down a bit (but only for a day or so-- more on that later.) I'm reflecting on what a great time graduation was. Definitely one for the books. 

It was a nice bit of kismet that Gilbert Ramsay was also getting his phd that afternoon, so the Ramsays were there with Adam McKaykay. So we all celebrated together making it one big me, Taylor, Gilbert Graduation/Birthday spectacular. 

We started with some bubbly at the extremely well-placed Albany Hotel across the street from Younger Hall. Taylor was late because he forgot his robes (who FORGETS their robes?!) and when he did show up, he looked like the most disheveled poet you've ever seen in your life. I'm talking: no suit, no bow tie, shirt too thin and too small so that the top button pulled and he looked like he was was trying to show off some cleavage. He was the good-natured laugh of the day. Taylor always joked on facebook that he was doing a Masters in Poetry & Hedonism. Well, especially on this day, he really & truly earned that distinction. (Photographic evidence to follow.)

We heard about the processional of ancient maces. That St Andrews was in possession of one of the largest collections of rare and ancient maces (??) For real? And the very serious chaps who marched them around were the same dudes who hooded me as I knelt on velvet pillow, was bopped on the head by John Knox's pants and then proceeded to bow and walk off stage the wrong way. Everyone else went in front of the lecturn, but I headed straight towards my advisor and went behind the lecturn. Oops. But I was distracted by the fact that they said my name wrong-- but then, I pretty much saw that coming. 

St Salvator's Quad was lit up and as we did our victory lap around it to the tunes of a well-dressed piper, I felt pretty lucky to have made such a family in such a short time in this very special place. 

There's always this part of me that thinks I'm inconveniencing people by asking them to show up for me. So mostly, I don't ask. And the farther I've moved away from my childhood, the more I've been amazed at how people just do it without needing to be asked. This place is like the pinnacle of that. 

In the last of our graduation speakers, one of the world's most respected Middle Eastern conflict scholars, he brought up JRR Tolkien's lecture at St Andrews about Eucatastrophe. Basically, that the thing that delivers the protagonist into a happy resolution may come from a decision that, at least for a while, the protagonist might feel was a mistake. Such as, just hypothetically for example, quitting a pretty good life & career in New York to move to rural Scotland. There were times, and there are still times, where I wonder about that decision. But not on November 30th. 

Right before I went the wrong way...oops.
The great poet/hedonist
good friends on a height gradient. 

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