I think I’ve probably quoted Emerson enough over the past 45 weeks, so I will leave it to you to find the “life only avails” passage on your own–but once again, I find myself reflecting on the wonders of “becoming,” and how doubly wonderful it is to realize that it’s the process of becoming that is the truly exhilarating part, not the thing-I-will-become.
Well, that sounds unnecessarily philosophical. Let’s be more concrete.
Here I am, participating in a conference in southwestern Virginia, surrounded by scholars, archivists, and public historians in Appalachian Studies. Tomorrow, a group of us from this conference will be drafting up plans for a collaborative, scholarly publication.
And Appalachian Studies is not my field of research. Or at least it hasn’t been until now.
So I ask myself (with apologies to David Byrne): “Well….How did I get here?”
I knew that many things would change as we moved from Atlanta to the mountains of North Carolina, and I knew many things would change at work as well, as I moved to a very different kind of university. What I hadn’t anticipated, though, was how the rich sense of place that defines Appalachia would work its way into some of my ongoing research and student-driven projects. And where all this will lead is entirely unknown.
What a relief it is to be reminded that I really don’t know what the future holds for me. All I can do is be open to this unfolding present, and allow it to become what it may.