March has come and gone, Spring has arrived and so have the April showers. I don’t mind the rain because it brings me a certain type of peace. The rain cleanses.

I went to Ann Arbor yesterday. In theory I went for the book release party for David Pratt’s Wallaçonia. I took the train out and spent the majority of the day with my old neighborhood/school friend, Michelle. I was only in Ann Arbor for a grand total of six hours but I feel I crammed in a full week.

I love the idea of coming into a new city and truly exploring. I left the train station and was on my own until Michelle texted. I feel the best way to get to really know a place is on foot. I think you notice more when you’re walking the streets compared to driving down them. I felt at home in Ann Arbor, partly because it’s a town with good energy and partly because it reminded me of a bizarro version of metropolitan Detroit.

I turned the corner and ran into Catching Fireflies. Their original location is literally down the street from where I stay. I decided to explore Main Street and saw there was the familiar Vault Of Midnight comic book store. Everywhere I turned there were things that reminded me of my territory. Plus Ann Arbor is home to my dream school, the University of Michigan. Their social work program is the best in the nation.

My reasoning for the impromptu trip to Ann Arbor was to attend the book release party for Wallaçonia but the reality is that I needed a vacation that didn’t involve funerals or weddings or visiting my parents. I’ve been on day trips and an overnight stay to Bay City but I haven’t had a real vacation since I went to Ottawa with Michelle to visit her grandparents. That was over twenty years ago. And, as I write this, I realize I truly need a real vacation sometime this year.

When Dorothy meets the Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz, she’s at a crossroads and trying to figure out which way to go. (h/t to IMDb)

Dorothy: Now which way do we go?
Scarecrow: Pardon me, this way is a very nice way.
Dorothy: Who said that?
[Toto barks at scarecrow]
Dorothy: Don’t be silly, Toto. Scarecrows don’t talk.
Scarecrow: [points other way] It’s pleasant down that way, too.
Dorothy: That’s funny. Wasn’t he pointing the other way?
Scarecrow: [points both ways] Of course, some people do go both ways.

The reality is that I’m at my own crossroads and, like Dorothy Gale, I’m trying to discern which way to go. I know that I can’t go back the way I came. I’ve grown too much and the route behind me would only set me off course. Honestly, I’ve been at this crossroad for a long time now. I decided to camp out instead of making a choice. That decision was necessary at the time but now my days bleed into each other and I really have no way to distinguish one day from the next. I know it’s time to be traveling on but I don’t know where to go from here. I was hoping that Ann Arbor would have answers for me. It did answer a major lingering question, whether I still wanted to go into social work but after talking to Michelle about it and discovering that David’s partner teaches at the University of Michigan in the social work department, I am more enthusiastic about social work as a career. I’m getting a tad burnt out so I know I’m going to have to step back this summer and focus on other areas of my life. I’m going to have to put school on the shelf while I figure out my next move.

Left or right. I know either way will be a route filled with the ebb and flow, up and down quality of this fragile thing we call life. It’s times like these I wish I could peer into the future to learn what my life would be like if I choose left over right or vice versa. My life is filled with uncertainty and that’s the one thing I dislike because I can’t control uncertainty. I told a friend of mine the other day that she needed to have a little faith in herself. I guess it’s time I practice what I preach.


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