Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice”:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Okay, I know — what the heck does “Fire and Ice” have anything to do with my New Year’s Resolution?
I never really got to know Frost — I studied a few of his poems, but they were always kind of hit and miss, and I’ve taught “Mending Wall” (badly) and “The Road Not Taken” (okay-ly). So “Fire and Ice” was something that I never really studied nor taught officially, but you can get the gist of Frost’s poem — fire with the usual connotations of heat, desire, passion, love, irrationality, exuberance, impulse; ice with the usual connotations of coldness, indifference, deadness, hate, rationality, repression, calculation.
Today the ideas in “Fire and Ice” resonate in me enough to say that my New Year’s Resolution is to surrender to fire. Anybody who knows me knows that this is tough for me, but it’s turned, among many things, into avenues in which I remain a student.
The hubby’s teaching me to play the cello, an instrument which I never thought of giving myself except perhaps a couple of decades from now… but now that I have one, what’s the point of waiting?
I’ve gone to the gun range (after a year-long haitus) and rediscovered my love of shooting, albeit badly — I’ll need plenty of practice. But I’ve forgotten just how *relaxing* unloading round upon round into a paper target several yards away, in which the whole world is reduced to just you, the gun, and the target, and nothing else. I think that’s one of the reasons why I like darts and pool so much — you, the equipment, and the goal. But I really suck at shooting (kept favoring left, and I’m only now learning how to clean my 380 Bersa) — much practice needed. Period.
And I impulsively bought a pattern for actually crocheting a *sweater*. I can churn out a throw in a couple of weeks now, but I sweater, where I have to count stitches — now that’s advanced stuff for me. And I’d really like to learn knitting — I know lots of people who knit, and I think what they do is neat. I’m an absolute ignoramus at it.
Then there’s my dissertation. I’ve learned lots about O’Connor and made some connections that I hadn’t made before until I was knee-deep in research. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m almost finished with the research, but I’m still blown away by just how much this woman accomplished in only fourteen years of professional writing. And there’s so much freakin’ work to do before I finish this thing, but I can only think of this one day at a time. It’s the only way I’ll survive this behemoth of my academic career.
And, of course, there’s savate, where every training session is a lesson in what percentages of competence and incompetence will I divvy up this time (mores the latter than the former). Any smart person in my shoes would quit by now, but, well, I guess I’m not that smart.
And then there’s other things, but this post’s gone long enough. “Surrender to fire” because even though fire still hurts, ice hurts even more, if not in the short run, then in the long run. I’m 32 years old, and it’s taken me this long to realize this. I guess I’m just slow on the uptake, huh.
Night folks, and happy New Year. Five more days of Christmas left, till Three Kings’ Day on January 6, so Merry Christmas, too.